Fermi Paradox for Startups

The Fermi paradox for start ups, for when you come up with a brilliant startup idea and are wondering how no one has built it yet.

Why doesn’t this business/product exist yet?

Reason Constraint Example Relative likelihood
No one has thought of the idea before Creativity Nuclear fission in 1900 ~0% (Only happens once per idea!)
People have thought of the idea, but no one with the resources/ambition/skills required to attempt it Initiative Nuclear fission in 1936 5%
People have attempted it but no one has succeeded in building a working solution Technology Heavier-than-air flight in 1890 5%
People have succeeded in building a solution, but no one wants it Market - Existence Segway in 2001 10%
People have built a solution that customers will pay for but there is no effective distribution channel Distribution Ride sharing in 2000 10%
People have built a profitable solution, the market where it works is just small Market - Scale Segway in 2010 20%
It does exist. You just aren’t paying attention Your own ignorance Every idea you haven’t heard of 50%

Successful startups typically come out of “Initiative” stage, by bringing hustle and cash to new ideas, or the “Distribution” stage, by bringing hustle and cash to new distribution channels.

Essays