What do you want?

December 2nd, 2007

Here’s one way to identify a niche for you to create content; ask yourself what you want in your life.

Think about your hobbies and interests. What do you want that you can’t find? What kind of information do you want to get your hands on? In what form do you want it?

Some of the biggest and most interesting fortunes have been created by people trying to satisfy their own desires. Just take a look at these people who started billion-dollar enterprises:

Sheryl Leach found that despite her teaching background she couldn’t hold her own son’s attention for more than a few minutes. However, like other children he could stare at dinosaurs for hours on end. She combined dinosaurs with education and created Barney the purple dinosaur. She designed the costume, rented a studio and shot Barney videos to be marketed to parents like her. Eventually PBS discovered Barney and put him on television.

At a meeting of the Home Brew Computer Club in the 1970’s, Steve Wozniak saw some people playing around with rudimentary computers. He decided he’d like to have one too. The problem was you either had to lease one for millions of dollars from IBM or build one yourself from expensive computer parts. Wozniak found the cheapest microchip he could buy with his money and tried to figure out how to get it to work with the fewest number of parts. Because it was a computer, he was able to make the chip handle certain process that normally would require other expensive parts. Eventually he figured out an elegant and simple design. When he showed it to his friend Steve Jobs, a lightbulb went on in his head. A short time later they started Apple Computers and created a billion dollar industry for personal computers.

While he was studying computers at university, Finnish student Linus Torvalds thought it would be useful to have an operating system like UNIX that he could run on a home PC and be able to make various modifications to. Other people quickly joined him on this project. The Linux operating system was created. Less than a decade later, Linux formed a basis for a billion-dollar industry, made possible by its open nature that let anyone use it and modify it to their needs.

All of these people created incredible products based upon trying to solve their own particular needs. They didn’t try to create something for an invisible audience. They solved a problem that faced themselves and millions of other people.

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