I get exposed to a lot of startup ideas due to the nature of my work. It is exhilarating to meet so many young and smart entrepreneurs trying to solve real problems in unique and interesting ways.
As I talk to more and more startups globally, especially consumer tech, I am beginning to get convinced that a MAJOR DETERMINANT of whether an idea can become a billion-dollar business is:
Is it a product that the customer will keep on the home screen of her/his smartphone?
For a consumer-tech business, the most valuable real estate is its customer’s smartphone home-screen. That is the gateway to the wallet of its customer.
While reading this post, I’d like you to do a small exercise.
Pull out your smartphone. Who am I kidding? You are probably reading it on your smartphone or already have it in your hand. (That’s how integrated smartphones are in our life.)
Go to the home screen of your phone and observe what you see.
Take a moment to categorize the apps that you use.
Below is what I have on the screen of my Nexus 6, according to most relevant categories. I would hazard a guess that you too will have similar app categories.
People – WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. (Sorry Instagram and Snapchat; I am on the other side of 25!)
Infortainment – FlipBoard, 9GAG, iMDb, and Candy Crush (I swear that I’ve never sent any request. Ever! Or may be not ‘ever.’)
Utility – Uber, Ola, Amazon, and Haptik. (Haptik being a new addition that I placed mid-September. I love the product!)
Customers value time. They want instant access to things that are meaningful to them. The categories should give you a sense into what is meaningful to customers. Are you in any of these spaces? Are you building a product that will find a place on the home screen?
Practical Tip: The number one goal of your startup should be to create a product so relevant and compelling that it finds a place on your customer’s smartphone home-screen.