Want to build the next big personal productivity application, communication platform or X? Follow those that have the most to gain from it.
With any new technology, the users on the forward edge of a trend are the people who stand to benefit most.
Follow the sales guys
Those that benefit most from improvements in personal productivity are sales people. Sales jobs have the clearest correlation between personal output and compensation among any role inside a company. This direct correlation leads to millions of sales people across the web searching for any edge they can find to increase their sales (and therefore their compensation). Make twice as many calls in one day – make twice as many sales.
I like building stuff for sales people because of how clear their incentives are. To understand a man, understand his incentives.
Follow the marketers
The people that benefit most from improvements in communication technology are marketers. In no other role is success more closely tied to getting your message heard by more people. Get your message heard by twice as many people – drive twice as many visitors to your product/website/store.
Want to build a new startup in the personal productivity space? Listen to the sales guys. Want to build the next big communication platform? Get to know some marketers.
I guess this is all just a corollary of knowing your customer. But I thought it was important to break it down just the same.
What do you want build? Who are you following?