Quote to think about from Wang Xing, the Chinese Internet entrepreneur who founded clones of Facebook, Twitter, and GroupOn. He is discussing the development of consumption in societies:
“When consumption develops, there are three phases,” he says. “The first is focused on quantity, providing enough to meet demand, the second on securing product quality, and only during the third will people start developing tastes. On the internet in China, we’re still very much in the second phase.”
Perhaps, this could also be applied to the development of new product categories (and simultaneous existence) within and across societies: think the development history of phones (functional cell phone, Blackberry, iPhone) or other product categories.
Put this into the context of a product category that you are trying to create, and there are clearly different approaches that can work, and the timing of your entry may also have something to say to that. Your personal vision might also hem you in; you may not be satisfied to put something out there that is substandard or a copy of what someone else has done. For example, Steve Jobs would never have been satisfied with a ho-hum computer when launching the Mac or a ho-hum phone when launching the iPhone.