“The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.”
— fiction author William Gibson.
- You’ve created a new thing that actually works. But that’s not enough.
- A few customers use it and they are ecstatic about how you solved a big problem for them.
- There are many more potential customers that have the same problem out there who have NO IDEA about your company or your thing yet.
The future is already here in your new thing that actually is amazing for someone right now.
It’s not evenly distributed because so few people know about it or are doing it yet.
Like autonomous driving. It’s here and it works in some cases, but it’s not practical or popular yet. I think someday this will work, but I’m not taking my hands off the steering wheel yet.
There are degrees of “already here” that investors and startup advisors work with.
Like the inventor who has an idea and imagines the product that will change how some part of the world works. That’s a dream that starts the innovation game, but a thing that works isn’t really here yet.
Startup investors and advisors see a lot of things that are already working for a small audience that could be much bigger someday.
Investors bet on things that are already working in small ways that they expect to be big in the future.
The term “product-market fit” was created by investors to declare there is a useful thing already AND a big market in the future.
Literally, every common thing we see that humans created went through this invention-to-popular process and survived. But we don’t see the ones that didn’t make it.
The present world we live in now was a future created by people before us.
We are creating a new future.
I used the “future is already here…” quote today with a startup founder I am helping.
His software and service product works great for 50 clients right now, but the rest of the world has no clue about it yet. At scale, there could be 50 million people or more who use this kind of thing someday.
So this solution is already here and working great for his customers, but it’s in the future for everyone else who doesn’t know about it yet.
This made him feel better. We just have to distribute the future he has proven on a small scale.
That’s how I see it.
Do you think it’s harder to create a valuable new invention or to make the thing popular in the future?