February 6, 2017

Silicon Valley isn’t “Mainstream”

This weekend, Josh Elman’s tweet kicked off an interesting conversation, probably inspired by “Silicon Valley’s spammiest new app” which hit every Bay Area VC and founder’s phone the night prior.

Josh’s question speaks to the filter bubble we all create, not just in the news we consume, but also the products we adopt. Silicon Valley (in the physical and spiritual sense) is a small group of people when compared to the world.

Snapchat got its initial traction among teens until Lightspeed’s Jeremy Liew first discovered the app via his daughter.

Houseparty, the successor to Meerkat, initially launched under a pseudonym to avoid attention from the tech industry. It hit the top of the App Store and ~1M daily users before its first notable press.

What’s trending among the tech scene isn’t necessarily “mainstream”. This was never true and maybe even less true today as tech becomes a part of everyone’s daily life.

That’s not to say makers shouldn’t build for a tech audience or that consumer products that originate within Silicon Valley are an anti-pattern. This is yet another reminder to build for your target audience and that diverse teams have a competitive advantage.

More Writing by Ryan