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The comparison of enterprise vs consumer is a very interesting topic. Why the consumer traction is so much more unpredictable?

My working theory is that consumer ideas are both art and engineering. The art component either takes in the mind of the consumer or it doesn't. Like movies or music, sort of. Lots of great engineering teams can't get the art to work with high probability, and even the great consumer internet artists swing and miss as often as they hit (eg odeo vs twitter). And if the art doesn't take, the engineering won't save you.

Whereas the enterprise ideas are mostly engineering - or rather the art lies in really understanding the customer and the domain, which is relatively straightforward for the great enterprise entrepreneurs, because they are already so deep in it and you can easily go talk to the customers one at a time and learn what you need to know to predict success or failure with pretty high confidence. Not easier but different.

These are all gross over generalizations of course. I think of this as a framework for thinking - one of many - not a literal description of the truth in all cases. One lens.


I love this quote about art and engineering, music and film. Spot on. So as a startup founder, filmmaker, musician - here's my question: how are you ever gonna get these blockbusters/chart toppers without taking a chance. The biggest film in the U.S. right now (Gravity) is by a Mexican filmmaker who made arty films like Y Tu Mama Tambien and Children of Men - not hollywood stuff. Really breakout, worldchanging, consumer, Apple-style stuff is made by weirdos, punks, poets and freaks. With all the capital A16 has to deploy - why not create a fund for some of the crazy ones?


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