No matter what you do, there is a great deal of pressure to do the popular thing. As creative professionals, we want to be appreciated. We want the work we do, the things that we create, to be acknowledged and appreciated. Professional, student, hobbyist, or whatever, we’re all people. And, really, we all want to be “cool.” We often won’t admit it, but we do. And because we want to be cool, we often look around at what our peers think is cool and orient our efforts and projects in that direction.
Spotting a Gap
This desire to be accepted isn’t necessarily a bad thing. From a business perspective, it can be an obvious compass for spotting where a potential market may be. All companies want a large audience. You can do a lot worse at finding a large audience than directing your attention toward the thing that seemingly everyone is talking about.
But, does chasing popularity do a good job at filling market demand? Maybe. Even assuming it does, does an army of companies all chasing the same segment of users do anything for people who need an answer to a real, but very specific, problem? If everyone is exclusively trying to get on top of the “coolest” trend, do we as an industry just end up solving the same lowest-common-denominator problems in increasingly more sophisticated ways?
A World Full of Photo Filters and Share Buttons
Most of us are very aware of the draw social networks and photo sharing have been over the last few years. Seemingly every news-worthy application or service involved some angle on connecting us more thoroughly. And, on the face of it, there’s nothing wrong with that. As developers, we should pursue the endeavors we’re passionate about. If building a “Facebook for X” service get’s you excited and up in the morning, then great.
But the expectation that developers need to focus on those application categories in order to be taken seriously can be tiring at times. Social networking is clearly a feature in high demand. But it’s also something that doesn’t necessarily excite me as a developer or product designer. The expectation that every new product needs to look and behave just like the current “hot” application can be a little discouraging.
Take Robert Frost’s Advice, Consider the Road Less Travelled
One of the reasons we started Digital Generalists was to give ourselves the freedom to pursue the projects we find interesting. All of us here at DG have had many opportunities to work on really wonderful products with some truly great companies. But eventually we all came to realize that to do the things we really wanted to do in the ways we wanted, we had to carve out a space of our own.
That motivation is what guides the product strategy at Digital Generalists. We build products we would want to use, products which solve problems we’ve personally encountered, products we wish existed but simply don’t yet.
We’re confident in our choice to build high-quality products that we are proud to put out into the world. If we consistently build things that we are passionate about, it’s our belief that a market will eventually follow.
The things that become the new hotness rarely start as “me too” products targeting a well-established market. They often start because someone wished the world had something it didn’t at the time.
If you like the vision I’m describing, take a look at the products and services we offer. You might find something you like there as well.