When you have Paul Greenberg, the godfather of the Australian online retail industry, sitting in front of you — a man who created Australia’s first online department store; a man who disrupted the retail landscape and has met the likes of Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma and Elon Musk — what question do you ask him?
For me, that question was: ‘Paul, what’s the Next Big Thing?’
Paul looked at me and he said two words: ‘Wrong question.’
So, what’s the right question? He answered,
To discover the next big thing — the IPO that goes off, the next Unicorn in waiting — the question isn’t ‘What’s the next big thing?’ The question has to be:
What problem is yet to be solved?
I often get asked, ‘Have all the good ideas been taken? Have the big disruptors such as Facebook, Uber, Airbnb and Alibaba sucked the oxygen out of the ideas atmosphere, leaving no room for new ones to grow?’ The answer is, unequivocally, no.
All the good ideas have not been taken. In fact, the market is ripe for big, bold, audacious ideas precisely because of the big disruptors. Their very existence creates opportunities for new ideas to thrive. The trick is to identify the disruptor in your industry, look at the problem it creates and create a business that helps solve that problem.
Note: Don’t seek to be the next Facebook or the next Snapchat either. You just need to solve the problems they create. Their girth creates a market plenty big ...