There are a lot of markets that should be disrupted. Big, juicy, billion+ dollar markets that deserve disruption. But there’s a big difference between a market that should be disrupted and one that’s ready to be disrupted. And the distinction is important.
Take the HR / Recruitment space. It should be disrupted. It’s huge, there’s tons of money and time wasted, and there isn’t a single person on the planet that will say they’ve had consistently great experiences when looking for work or on the other side, when hiring. Both sides of that market (employers and job seekers) are a complete mess. That market should be disrupted.
But is it ready for disruption?
There are most definitely some interesting things happening in the HR / Recruitment space. But you need to go into a market like that (which objectively from the outside looks perfect for disruption) with your eyes wide, wide open, because it’s not that simple. The market deserves disruption. It needs disruption. But it’s not entirely ready for it.
And that’s a dangerous place to plant your startup. It means – most likely – that you’ll need a lot more time (and money) than you originally anticipated to punch a hole in the market and gain significant traction. It means there’s less room for error because the market can quickly chew you up and spit you out. Or worse, completely ignore you.
There are other markets like that as well. Education. Government. It’s not that you shouldn’t go into these markets. David Binetti just raised $1.5M for Votizen, which is working to improve communication from the public to government officials. And it’s not that at some point in the future these markets won’t be disrupted in huge ways that will affect millions of people. But it’s going to be a lot harder than it looks. Objectively looking at a market and seeing all its flaws is easy. Making the assumption that the market is ready and primed for disruption is also easy, but that’s where so many startups fail. Tackling small, refined problems is one strategy. Don’t go for the whole enchilada in one shot; get traction early on something small, strategic and smart. Prove traction and then bust a hole in the market as quickly and aggressively as possible.
“Should be disrupted” and “Ready to be disrupted” are two different things. You need to recognize the differences and the impact those differences will have on your startup.