Looking for the Gem
What is one of the primary factors behind a company's success? The team, the product, the marketing strategies are fundamental for sure. But to create something that will stand the test of time (or of the upcoming decades at least), you need to know what the future trends will be. Investing in your business is just like investing in stocks - you need to play the long game and be not reactive, but active. This means that when it comes to the issues you'd tackle you shouldn't base your decisions upon what's fashionable but what would be trendy in 10 years. This type of thinking has turned Marc Andreessen or the Winklevoss brothers into billionaires - because they were able to see what was undervalued and had the potential to turn the world upside down. Foreseeing the upcoming trends and diving into the blue ocean is easier said than done, that's for sure. However, there is one main factor you need to be taking into consideration seriously. The Nerd Indicator.
Basically, most of the booming industries nowadays started off from very small and passionate communities. Nobody took them seriously at first and they looked like geeks to everyone else. However, the disregard they faced did no influence them negatively one bit. And this is one of their greatest strengths. Living in their own bubble, these communities could not be affected by any outside factors, such as market volatility, politics, news, etc.
These are the people who were into gaming way before e-sports events would take entire stadiums. They were ardent collectors of Marvel comics while it was considered to be an activity typical for geeks. No one would believe back then that a comic book about a person with superpowers dressing up as a spider would turn into a cult franchise grossing billions of dollars. Streaming also may have been considered 'weird' at first but ended up being popular among hundreds of millions of people. At the end, even some politicians would end up using Twitch to address their supporters during live streams. The Internet outcasts were basically also among the first Bitcoin adopters. They were laughed at for accepting digital currency to sell physical goods such as pizza. Nowadays, 'experts' laugh at the person who was ready to spend his Bitcoins.
However, these people were more than happy to be a part of a movement as it gave them a purpose and a sense of identity. And, as strange as it may seem, to them having fun is above all - even above the profits which look implausible to the majority of them anyways. The latest proof of the power of these communities was the Reddit group which literally shook the financial world with its coordinated efforts.
With time what was once considered 'lame' gradually becomes cool. There is a multitude of factors for this transition. First, the nerds prove to be a resilient community which actually is a sign of strength, which is worthy of respect. After all, only the weak crumble under criticism and change their tastes in order to appeal to the masses. As a rule of thumb, once the mass media finds out about their existence, it ridicules them. Being the laughing stock does not deter them one bit though. They also become specialists in their own realm, whether that be blockchain, GPUs or superhero relations. This creates a sort of competition among them as being the top expert in their confined space is quite a palpable achievement.
Furthermore, since they are few, they are usually quite welcoming to any newcomers. With time some of the same 'founders' may become bitter opponents to the commercialization of their passion and the influx of non-experts, but then it doesn't matter anymore since their voices cannot be heard in the crowd. Once the 'cool people' join the movement, the growth becomes exponential.
So, what's the moral of these insights? You need to seek not the early adopters, but for the innovators. Be on the lookout for the next crypto frenzy. This could demonstrate to you where to concentrate your efforts. Don't go with the flock, be part of its formation.
There are several ways of identifying these groups of people that will form the basis of tomorrow's movements. Dive into forums of narrowly specialized experts. Search for groups on social media, whether that be Reddit, Telegram, Facebook, Meetup... Why not even look for them in a VR environment? Remember, they are pushing the boundaries of what is known and socially accepted, so you need to be open-minded as well. Last, but not least - look into who the media is ridiculing. As the famous saying goes:
'First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.'
Gandhi was one hundred percent right, especially when it comes to nerds.
Once you discover them and you infiltrate their closed society, try to understand the fundamentals of their endeavors, the technology and systems they intend to push forward. Decide whether or not their passion actually has a potential to be adopted by others as well and then ponder on how you can pave the way for it to become mainstream. And have patience - it may take a decade till the trend you've spotted actually takes off. If you don't believe in it as well, it will be extremely hard for you to hold onto it for all this time. So make sure to share the zest with the other pioneers. And beyond cashing out on your undertakings in the future, proving the world wrong will be one of the best feelings you'll ever experience.
We, at BattlePass Studio, use something we call the Nerd Factor into our initial startup assessment process. We are constantly on the lookout for the next big industry shifts. We love startup teams that demonstrate a deep understanding of an uncharted territory in tech, or particular "nerdish" insights on topics we relate with. And if you aren't part of a venture crew or don't have your own idea yet but are keen on working in this exciting space - make sure to get in touch with us!
Nerds are here to stay and to guide us to the next big change. Do not disregard them like the rest do.