Will BricaBox Fly? / by Nate Westheimer

Startupers, if you haven't read Evan Williams' "Will it Fly" article today, go do it. Basically, Evan came up with a chart with which to judge the validity of new product/business ideas.

In the chart, he examines an app's:

  • Tractability
  • Obviousness
  • Deepness
  • Wideness
  • Discoverability
  • Monetizability

He then examines several of the web's most successful apps over the past several years. See chart:

Picture 5-1

How does BricaBox stack up?

Tractability = High

One of the first ways BricaBox was explained is: "Like Blogger, before people knew what 'blogs' were." People still think this, largely. Just today I've been emailing with folks on the BricaBox Publishers list about what to "call" BricaBox's genre of apps. I DO think we're on to something new -- exactly in Blogger's position 5ish years ago -- but since it is a progression in functionality we have had to make a slightly more complicated product. Therefore, I'm giving us a "high" rating.

Obviousness = Low

Unfortunately, people don't yet come to BricaBox and "know" why they need one. They do need one -- people organize and share information regularly -- but they do not think about it in the context of "I bet there's a web app out there that does this form me." The other thing about obviousness is how best to set up a CMS. One of the things that will make us or break us, ultimately, is how right we are.

Deepness = Very High

This is one of the places we really shine. The value we provide can be expressed in many ways, but the starkest/most potent is when you compare $$ costs to developing the same functionality in-house. The fact that we've done it for you really helps.

The fact that BricaBox provides substantial value to User1 is something that's excited me about working on the project.

Wideness = High

While I think the overall appeal for having a BricaBox could be a bit lower than blogs, I think the possibility for people contributing to BricaBoxes is wider. If you look at the Alley 100 BricaBox, for instance, you'll see that only I created the BricaBox, but dozens and dozens of people contributed to it, and hundreds of people engaged in it. That's social media!

Discoverability = High

Folks will visit sites powered by BricaBox and the folks who will drive them there are the publishers and their users. This is a pretty awesome scenario for us. Our job will be to make these various classes of people happy (publishers, users, visitors) and to also help people move up in "class" (by converting -- a dirty word? -- the right visitors to users, and user to publishers).

Monetizability = (healthy) Medium

I say "healthy" medium because there are two types. The unhealthy medium is when you can't make that much money. The healthy medium is when you have multiple revenue streams, each which can provide a great source of revenue, and together can make an excellent business.

Conclusion

Evan's analysis solidifies my understanding that BricaBox's potential success will look somewhat like Blogger's and somewhat like Feedburner's. Time will tell which one it skews to (or if it skews to nothing!), but I'm going to guess it ends up looking like one of theirs.

This analysis also reveals what we're banking on:

  • That the value we provide is very high and not found elsewhere
  • That we can leverage this value to get everyone involved, at various levels, in creating and curating important information and content

Thanks Ev!