Product Zeitgeist Fit and the Next Big Thing | Summary and Q&A

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December 9, 2019
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Product Zeitgeist Fit and the Next Big Thing

TL;DR

Start-ups that resonate with the mood of the times have a higher chance of success and can spot future trends by aligning their product with the cultural zeitgeist.

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Key Insights

  • ๐Ÿ™ƒ Start-ups fail primarily due to a lack of interest and launch rather than technical issues or competition.
  • โŒ› Product zeitgeist fit refers to aligning a product with the cultural mood of the times and contributes to start-up success.
  • ๐Ÿ‘ค Achieving product zeitgeist fit can generate momentum, enthusiasm, and energy among users, employees, investors, and media coverage.
  • ๐Ÿ– Examples such as cryptocurrencies, clean meat, and income share agreements demonstrate the impact of product zeitgeist fit.
  • ๐Ÿคจ Tests such as nerd heat, despite usage, t-shirt support, and raised eyebrows can help identify product zeitgeist fit.
  • ๐Ÿ‘ถ The cultural zeitgeist shapes the direction of innovation and disruption, providing opportunities for new ideas and products.
  • ๐Ÿช› The next generation's reaction against the unintended consequences of the previous generation drives product zeitgeist fit.
  • ๐Ÿ˜จ Looking for products that resonate with what is broken yet still inspire care can help identify future trends.

Transcript

because the death of most startups isn't because they don't get their tech to work or their competition out execute them the death of most startups is indifference they fail to launch because nobody care [Applause] so I know a lot of you are here because you're trying to figure out what's next and what the next big thing is going to be and that's g... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: What is product zeitgeist fit and how does it contribute to start-up success?

Product zeitgeist fit refers to aligning a product with the prevailing cultural mood. This connection with something emotionally relevant at that moment increases the chances of start-up success by generating interest and enthusiasm.

Q: What are some examples of products that have achieved product zeitgeist fit?

Examples include cryptocurrencies, which gained traction during the financial crisis when there was anger towards traditional financial institutions. Another example is clean meat, which found renewed enthusiasm due to concerns about climate change and ethical issues with industrial farming.

Q: How can one identify if a product has product zeitgeist fit?

One can use several tests: the "nerd heat" test, where talented professionals are excited and working on the product, the "despite" test, where people use the product despite its flaws, the "t-shirt" test, where individuals unrelated to the product display support, and the "eyebrow" test, where the product may appear controversial but is seen as a solution by those invested in it.

Q: How does the cultural zeitgeist influence innovation and disruption?

The cultural zeitgeist shapes the direction of innovation and disruption. It tends to be generational, reactionary, and often organized around a compelling villain. Innovators can identify opportunities by reacting to the unintended consequences and blind spots of the previous generation.

Summary

In this video, the speaker emphasizes the importance of product zeitgeist fit for startup success. He explains that product zeitgeist fit occurs when a product resonates with the cultural and emotional mood of the times. It is not about being better than the competition, but about connecting with something relevant and inspiring. The speaker provides examples, such as cryptocurrencies, clean meat, and income share agreements, to illustrate how products can capitalize on the zeitgeist and gain momentum. He also shares four tests to identify products with zeitgeist fit, including the engagement of talented individuals, the usage despite flaws, the association with a movement, and the eyebrow-raising nature of the product. The video concludes with the notion that innovation and disruption will always have a place as generations react against the shortcomings of the previous ones.

Questions & Answers

Q: What is product zeitgeist fit?

Product zeitgeist fit is when a product resonates with the cultural and emotional mood of the times. It occurs when a product connects with something relevant and inspiring, rather than simply being better than the competition. This fit gives startups an advantage and increases their chances of success.

Q: How does product zeitgeist fit differ from product market fit?

Product zeitgeist fit is different from product market fit. Product market fit refers to a product meeting the needs and preferences of a specific market segment. On the other hand, product zeitgeist fit is about resonating with the cultural mood and emotional energy of the times. It is not just functional but taps into something more meaningful.

Q: Why is product zeitgeist fit important for startups?

Product zeitgeist fit is important for startups because it gives them a cheat code for success. It provides them with momentum, energy, and enthusiasm, which are crucial for a startup at its early stages. By connecting with something culturally relevant, startups can catalyze the support of early users, employees, investors, and the media.

Q: Can you give an example of a product with zeitgeist fit?

One example of a product with zeitgeist fit is cryptocurrencies, particularly Bitcoin. During the financial crisis in 2009, there was anger at Wall Street and declining trust in centralized institutions. These sentiments sparked the opening for cryptocurrencies. The frustration with traditional financial systems and the demand for change aligned well with the zeitgeist, fueling the energy and excitement around crypto.

Q: How long can a product maintain its zeitgeist fit?

The duration of a product's zeitgeist fit can vary. In the case of cryptocurrencies, it has held for the better part of a decade. However, it is important to note that achieving product market fit and functional use cases are necessary for sustained success. Zeitgeist fit can give a product an unfair advantage, but it is just the beginning of the journey towards mainstream adoption.

Q: Are there examples of non-technology-related products that have zeitgeist fit?

Yes, there are examples of non-technology-related products that have zeitgeist fit. One example is clean meat, which has gained renewed enthusiasm in recent years. The growing urgency to address climate change and the ethical concerns with industrial farming have propelled the demand for clean meat. The alignment of these ideas with the zeitgeist has provided the energy needed for the concept to gain traction.

Q: How can we spot products with zeitgeist fit?

There are four tests to spot products with zeitgeist fit. The first is "nerd heat," which involves observing the interest and engagement of talented individuals within the industry. The second test is the "despite test," where people continue using and supporting a product despite its flaws. The third is the "t-shirt test," which looks for signs of association and movement through people displaying affinity for the product. Finally, the "eyebrow test" focuses on products that may initially raise eyebrows but are seen as elegant solutions to significant problems.

Q: What is the significance of generational, reactionary, and villain-driven factors in the zeitgeist?

Generational, reactionary, and villain-driven factors have an important role in shaping the zeitgeist and creating opportunities for innovation. Generational shifts bring about new perspectives and values, leading to the emergence of new ideas. Reaction against the unintended consequences and blind spots of the previous generation also fuels change and innovation. Additionally, organizing around a compelling villain, such as a problematic industry or system, motivates people to seek alternative solutions.

Q: Why should we pay attention to products that are broken and terrible but still matter to people?

Paying attention to products that are broken and terrible but still matter to people is crucial because it reveals what people care about and what needs improvement. These products represent opportunities for innovation and disruption. By addressing the frustrations and inspiring energy and enthusiasm, startups can build products that resonate with the emotional needs of the target market and have a higher chance of success.

Q: How can looking at products that have product zeitgeist fit help us see the future?

Looking at products that have product zeitgeist fit helps us see the future because they are often a reflection of the cultural and emotional mood of the times. By understanding the underlying reasons why certain products gain momentum and resonate with people, we can identify patterns and anticipate trends. This insight allows us to stay ahead of the curve, predict what will become successful, and potentially shape the future ourselves.

Takeaways

Product zeitgeist fit is a cheat code for startup success. It occurs when a product resonates with the cultural and emotional mood of the times, connecting with something relevant and inspiring. It is different from product market fit. Examples such as cryptocurrencies, clean meat, and income share agreements demonstrate how products can capitalize on the zeitgeist. To spot products with zeitgeist fit, observe the engagement of talented individuals, the usage despite flaws, association with a movement, and the eyebrow-raising nature of the product. Generational, reactionary, and villain-driven factors shape the zeitgeist, creating opportunities for innovation. Looking at products with zeitgeist fit helps us see the future and anticipate trends.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Most start-ups fail not because of technical issues or competition, but because they fail to generate interest and launch their product successfully.

  • Product zeitgeist fit refers to aligning a product with the cultural mood of the times, which can lead to start-up success.

  • Start-ups that capture the product zeitgeist fit can catalyze energy from early users, employees, investors, and media coverage, leading to mainstream adoption.

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