@anildash gets the credit for the title
The content though is one part in the air and one part thanks to Jason from Obvious (i.e. Twitter, Blogger, Google, Branch, etc)
Bill Gates used to listen to customers and design strategies to dominate markets. Steve Jobs made sublime products he wanted that showed the way to the future. Or that’s the Dashism to summarize it.
There are two situations when Gatesism appeals to startups: a) things are not going so great. The product is out there but only some people like it. Solution: the product is really about this niche! We found our segment! Yay! (Wrong.) b) we have an idea but…have trouble justifying why YOU (anyone) really need it. Solution: define a segment that really needs it. Describe them. Quantify their hugeness. Yay! We found some early adopters – the next hipsters, makers, hackers, slackers, etc. (Also wrong.)
Look, you can make a a product for a certain group. But only you know how you got there. If you are shoehorning it won’t work.
Real Gatesism though resembles P&G with soap. Soap exists. Now how to get everyone to buy it. Bundle it, free trial it, discount it, advertise it. Solid, powder, gel, and liquid. For faces, floors, clothes and other. Slice, dice, target, refine and fit.
When startups do this they are often taking an invention and trying to retrofit segmentation. The reason it’s bad is the invention process is not the market fit process. You invent something that doesn’t fit (too bad) then try to market your way out of the problem.
So that’s the warning.
More on the Jobsism later. Jobsism is how you make great inventions.