Last week at On Startups Darmesh Shah posted about how entreprenuers can do better creating something that is a necessary evil (he uses the very apt example of tax software – it’s not fun or buy or use, but we all have to pay taxes), instead of something that is fun, cool, or sexy. A real market of a few is better than a mythical market of millions, he says, and I’m inclined to agree.
This makes perfect sense – build something that people need and they will come. But how does this apply to the Knight News Challenge? Well, most individuals consume a certain amount of local news just because they happen to live in a particular area. People want to know what is going around them, because generally those are the events that affect them the most.
Focus on delivering the necessary information – weather, crime, traffic, and less obvious things, such as quick un-biased summaries on the positions of local politicians during election season, for instance (although the lack of bias may be something that is easier said than done). After all, we all know the views of candidates in the major national races, because the media covers that incessantly. But local elections can have just as much, if not more, impact as the presidential race for the people who live in that community. Think grassroots, not global.
Yes, something like this might be not particularly cool, but it’ll make a difference – and it might even encourage more people to vote, because they’ll be significantly better informed. Have a better idea for a “necessary evil” type of startup? You know the drill.