Timing is one of the most critical elements for the success of any idea. Teams are usually confident answering who their product is for and what problem it solves. Rarely do they ever pay attention to answering why now?
In 2009, Uber realized that people were unhappy with traditional taxi cabs and created a service that offered a viable alternative and an income source for drivers.
However, the idea alone isn’t what made companies like Uber and Lyft excel. Often, it’s not the idea that causes a startup to succeed. It’s their timing to market. With everyone carrying a miniature computer in their pocket, the world was ready for a ride-sharing service with an app.
The timing was right.
In 1997, Chase Norlin launched shareyourworld.com – an online video sharing website. It was the first of its kind, and marketers rushed to name this new category of internet capability. It was a great and simple idea. But it failed. In 2001, it shut down.
In 2004, only three years later, YouTube was launched by three former PayPal employees. Fast forward several years later, almost 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every single day (as of December, 2017).
Every. Single. Day.
There is no shortage of mind-boggling stats on the rapid rise and adoption of YouTube.
So what was different about YouTube? What insight did it uncover that shareyourworld.com missed?
Was the team behind YouTube more capable than Chase Norlin?
The only reason that YouTube succeeded while shareyourworld.com didn’t was timing. Back in 1997, the majority of people had slow bandwidths. Their internet speeds weren’t fast enough to enjoy streaming a video online with decent quality. The whole experience that online video streaming promised couldn’t be delivered because the technology wasn’t ready yet.
YouTube launched at a better time.
Just imagine if music streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Anghami launched at the time the original iPod was launched. Would you have bet on the iPod or music streaming?
My bet would be on the iPod. In fact, music streaming services would be unusable at the time. Back in 2001, when the first iPod was released, technology wasn’t ready yet to accommodate streaming applications on mobile phones.
A powerful question that can save you months and years of development and money burned through. Why is now the right time for your idea?
Let’s take this a step further.
If it turns out that it’s not the right time for your idea, then what needs to be true for the timing to be right? Shifts in political viewpoints? The acceptance of blockchain? A change in your customers’ daily commute?