As software ate the world, it also got … boring.
But why? Look into any corner of the internet world and it’s filled with creative nonsense. Where money doesn’t matter, and being off-putting isn’t going to cost you a customer, then you get weird, wonderful stuff. See: anonymous social media like Tumblr.
But anything big? Anything that might be interesting? Anything that might be useful? It’s dullsville. Even companies that started with the idea of being a bit off-beat, like MailChimp, have eventually toned down the ‘weird’ and dialed-up ‘hey it’s a professional tool that won’t offend anyone’. The fact that MailChimp hasn’t rebranded is remarkable, but they ain’t making MailShrimp these days.
As Conan O’Brien put it in his sign-off from TV, "I devoted all of my adult life, all of it, to pursuing this strange phantom intersection between smart and stupid."
Not enough of us do that. Maybe because we think one could cancel out the other. Or maybe we don't have enough practice being stupid.
So you need a business idea? Un-boring something!
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel to carve out your space in the world. But don’t just slap a clock on something — un-boring it.
Don't do these, but how about:
- Make a project management app that’s also a breakfast cereal.
- Make a new bank but it’s called the Dinosaur Bank and every product is a dinosaur name. Create the Apatosaurus Savings Account. (For adults!)
- Make a new co-working space called 2800K where all the lighting is really soft and warm and there are 2800 letter Ks on the wall everywhere, with very careful attention to make sure three of them can’t be lined up via a certain perspective. (Sorry, instagram’ers, find your accidental racism somewhere else!)
- Start FUmail, where every time a message is marked as spam there’s an automatic reply telling them to go stand on top of a windy building.
- A todo app called AAAHHHHH that you can only unlock when you’re running at full speed.
- Make a data integration platform that’s also a chain of car washes but isn’t a data integration platform at all. And also you don’t wash cars. But you do something and the growth charts are hockey-sticking to the right.
Or just pick something you already use (but don't love) and make a better, weirder version. Do your part to make the world a more interesting, unexpected place.
Please? Please? Please?