Nails, Demand and Startups

Every so often I think back on something my cousin said to me a long time ago while I was visiting India.  This memory randomly just popups in my head so this time I wanted to write down my thoughts.  I think there is also a good takeaway for startups.

We were driving on a fairly busy road and I noticed there were a few people pulled over checking out there cars and scooters.  When I pointed out that this seemed unusual he replied (conversion from punjabi to english in full effect here) :

Notice all the repair shops in the area?  Don’t you find it ironic so many of them are in one area? They have a few kids down the street who throw nails on the street. You get a punctured tire and the tire repair shops are conveniently located nearby.

What a nice business model (tongue and cheek). It does make me chuckle and think about a few things and how I could utilize this knowledge of demand creation at its purest.  These shops sure know how to create demand.  Is it immoral? You betcha! Is it falsely manufactured? off-course.

Side note : Most of the Indian streets are manned by amazing and creative entrepreneurs.  I just had a discussion with a friend about how so much of India is entrepreneurial out of necessity and its truly an amazing scene to witness.  Don’t believe me?  Here’s one model currently making the rounds and fascinating Silicon Valley but it’s been done for decades in India.  Fresh cooked food delivery for busy people.  Sprig & SpoonRocket.  Now read this

Back to my post: I’m not advocating you throw nails on the road because a user of the road will sooner or later catch on and avoid that road, effectively reducing your demand.  What I am trying to say is that think “creatively”.  Think outside the box. Think like you are on the street.  Recognize naturally occurring  vs falsely manufactured demand.  Then create your “repair shop” close by and watch the business grow.

Easily said than done?  For sure! but it can be done.  Have I been successful at taking my own advice? Not yet, but one day.

Do something, throw nails, pick them up, service the damage, whatever it is, go out and do it now.

Categories: Blog

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