I still miss the Circular Slide Rule my father gave me around 1975. I can do more with my iPhone than I ever could with that circular slide rule, but I miss it. Every once in awhile, I look online at the variously available versions of circular slide rules, but none are like the one my father got me all those years ago. I do, realize that over time I have created a memory of that slide rule that probably isn’t real. It was just that when I got it; it was the coolest thing I had ever gotten. Well, see I think that is the exaggeration of that gift. It was a cool gift, but over the years I have gotten many gifts that were cooler. It was just one that was something I treasured until it went missing, then I treasured it more.
Today I am lamenting the fall of Giroptic more. It bothered me when I saw the email from the founder. I had backed their first 360-degree camera via Crowdfunding. I ended up also adding their IO camera to my growing collection. The IO is the camera that connected to the iPhone or Android phone and gave you 360-degree images. The business reality for new technology is two-fold. The first is an understanding of the Total Addressable market. BY adding the IO product, I thought Grioptic had expanded to a new and ultimately a huge market. Personally, I put the overall 360-degree camera market at less than 100 million. But I figured the TAM (Total Addressable Market) for the add-on market in the cell phone world was well more than 400 million dollars.
I suspect that is the fatal flaw for many inventors. Not the reality of invention. But the simple reality of market and market size.
As a look ahead technologist I know I am not a market. I at times may be a market mover or market driver, but for the most part, I am looking at problems before other people consider them problems. The reality for new companies, innovations, and innovators is the reality of getting to the market quickly but also understand what the real market is. I understand the dream, I love the passion, but reality has to be the one thing inventors keep in front of them. Don’t assume the market is infinite!