Looking for the Next Big Thing

Robert D. Hof writes eloquently and intelligently about the Next Big Thing.

Three things of note: I was surprised that he discovered and identified the smart mob emergence as the only interesting development in the last few months. I agree — there was a small holy shit moment when I first read about smart mobs.

I was surprised he did not mention weblogs. Maybe this meme is old hat, but weblogs are the only thing on my radar which are currently shaking things up. Sure, no one hows to make new money on it. Sure, barriers to entry are amazingly low, but folks aren’t shutting up about it. Always a good sign.

Lastly, identification of the next Big thing is really really hard. Folks who are avidly looking for it are, unfortunately, intensely biased by various forms greed and; therefore, apt to leap at something which only vaguely resembles innovation. VCs want the cash, A-list entrepreneurs want the return to glory, and everyone else is willing to jump when either party says, “This is it. Let’s do this thing.”

Take comfort in the fact that, you, nameless Joe or Joe-ette are the people who actually get to decide what the next Big Thing. It’s the collection of each of your personal holy shit moments that will actual drive what is successful or not successful.

Whew.

3 Responses

  1. Even though it DOES seem like blogging is old hat, blogging is still in its infancy. I’m constantly being amazed at the number of people I talk to who have no idea what a blog is.

  2. I’m still not sold on blogging. While everyone is falling over themselves to get their K-RAD personal diaries online (something 98% of us probably shouldn’t be doing, either because our lives are infinitely boring or because it’s gonna come back to haunt you someday), all I see is a 1982-style BBS done up in a new paintjob. Hell, even BBSes in 1982 let me read comments in forward chronological order from my last session. Maybe this is a dead-end trail. What’s more interesting to me is all the tricks everyone’s thinking up to blog by means other than opening up a editbox in a browser.

    Cameraphones are neat.

    I think blogs hit a sensitive spot partially because of Rands’ NADD theory. Blogs are the killer app for short attention spans. I’ll read fark or blogdex ten times a day looking for something new. We all do. We’re addicted to NOVELTY, which I think is what we’re really all about now. Think about it. Why do films open and then are forgotten in a weekend? Why do we read Gizmodo about gadgets we can’t buy for a year? We’re addicted to the new and shiny. Blogs fit that bill, especially since most of the effort is into going into linking and cross-referencing them, just so we don’t miss what’s KEWL AND NEW.

    Happy 5th jerkcity. Rock on.

  3. Dear Rands;

    If you can ever pull these two things off, I predict these will be holy shit moments:

    1) Get the IT industry to go kicking and screaming into the 21st century and increase productivity, rather than ship IT jobs overseas to cheaper lands like India, which increases personnel, but not nessecarily productivity.

    2) Find a software solution to file medical insurance claims in a New York minute, rather than faster than a speeding snail.