Is finding the right platform the key to success?

It’s relatively easy to come up with a great idea for a new online product, service or business.  You see the unmet need, you know the market, you have a good idea how you can make some money by removing friction between buyers and sellers.  You flesh it out some, talk to some people, and pretty soon you’re excited about this opportunity just sitting there waiting for you.  If this works, you might be able to pay off debt, send your kids to college, quit your day job, whatever.  The point is, this could be huge.

Now, since your idea is a web business, you start looking for a platform, or a software package that can be readily adapted to your new idea.  If you’re lucky, that platform will have been architected by someone with real expertise in the kind of thing you want to do, so it will save you lots of trial and error.  If you can just find the right platform/software/cms/coder you’ll be profitable in no time.

And that’s when you fail.

Here’s the thing.  Most people stop fleshing out their idea at the point that it becomes too hard.  Where do they go next?  To find a magic bullet that will get them from here to there while skipping all that nasty grunt work that they really don’t want to get into right now.

I see this all the time, and I’ve done it myself.  Why do so many publishers think they can transform their digital business if they could only have a new CMS?  It’s because they somehow can’t face the process of examining every assumption about their business and possibly overturning many of them to build something new.  Creative destruction is painful.  No matter what you’re building, keep going.  Ask the inconvenient questions.  Talk to as many people as possible about your idea, including the kinds of people you hope will pay for your brilliant product.  Listen to them.  If they don’t understand the brilliance of what you’ve come up with, it can only mean one of two things.

A. Your idea is no good.  Back to the drawing board.

B.  Your idea needs to be more fully realized before anyone can understand it.  Keep working on it.


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