Rafe Needleman at C|net just published an interesting piece on the best startup ideas from 2011. Net-net, he says the following trends made it big through a variety of startups:
1) A focus on bringing technology to the physical world: Products that reach outside the digital realm and enable interactions with the physical world in interesting ways. Augmented reality anyone? Location awareness to tie the information experience with the physical? What about devices like medical monitors and other real world sensors that augment the digital experience?
2) Excellent design: This one is a no brainer. If Apple and Steve Jobs taught us anything it is that well designed trumps not well designed even if the more aesthetically appealing product lags behind on speeds and feeds. In 2012, we remain excited to see how some of Apple’s design philosophy gets “embraced and extended” with PC Ultrabooks. But Rafe’s point is not just about computer hardware. He makes a broader and completely accurate point about design now being super important for the success of a product – hardware or software.
3) Mining data: Both in the consumer and enterprise worlds, data is growing at unfathomable rates. On the consumer end, we have things like photographs, notes, documents, music and videos all moving into the cloud, needing to be searched and organized. And on the business side we have ever-increasing digitization of records and transactions, a larger number of surveillance cameras providing higher quality digital footage than ever before, automated supply chains, enterprise application integration, ERP implementations moving down the chain and into the cloud and so on. There is LOTS of opportunity to mine data and make sense of it.
4) Platforms: True, the platform concept is a tough sell as either a new idea or something that too many people can get off the ground. But if you can build a platform and make it succesful by developing a consumption and supply ecosystem around it, it sure as heck makes for a killer business model with lots of inherent barriers to competitive entry. Facebook, after all, is not necessarily the finest implementation of a social network – just the most powerful and adopted platform of all social networking properties. That’s why Google and others can’t unseat it so easily. Building platforms is IN fo’ sho’.
5) Putting people/consumers in touch with each other: A central theme in the information revolution is breaking down barriers to communication. Theoretically, the Internet puts everyone on earth in touch with any other fellow earthling. In reality, the contact needs to be brokered within a particular context (i.e. education, social networking, commerce and so on). Properties that put people in touch with others and create some value from that contact – whether by enabling consumer to consumer commerce, or learner to learner education – are hot.
What do you think are some additional hot idea memes that took off in 2011? What do you think will stay hot through 2012? We’d love to hear your views.
For more on this, directly from the horse’s mouth, visit C|Net.