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Blue ocean vs red ocean


'Blue Ocean Strategy suggests that an organization should create new demand in an uncontested market space, or a “Blue Ocean”, rather than compete head-to-head with other suppliers in an existing industry.'1

Continuing the discussion from Software vs Software + Services:

[quote=“ian, post:6, topic:484, full:true”]
Specifically about bootstrappers crowded markets are the best. You have to do zero work to get people to want this type of product as there’s already loads of companies with ads, sales people, etc. So then, all you need to do is appeal to a small group in there who are unhappy with their current option. By far the easiest way to go for a Bootstrapper and also has the highest chance for success IMHO.

I also tend to disagree with the concept in general since there’s always people unhappy with some aspect of the software their using and even if that software tries to be all things to all people that will make others unhappy that it’s so complex. […] But for a bootstrapper who needs to only make a relatively minor amount of revenue in comparison it’s irrelevant I think.[/quote]

Do others feel the same? Does your opinion differ for markets such as the Apple App Store vs the web?


Ah, I thought there might be some discussion about different kinds of markets and market conditions.

In the Apple App Store I don’t think you want lots of competition.

I’ve heard that some competition in other markets can be valuable as it can ‘validate’ what you’re selling.


I’m 100% on board with Ian on this one in the SaaS/web app space. Go head-to-head in a market with proven demand and add your personal spin. If you execute really well, you’ll win as a bootstrapper.

I also love the idea of extracting small pieces of a big horizontal app (e.g., GetDrip.com extracts Autoresponders from MailChimp.com and does them better and with more focus on the most critical use case).

And yes, the App Store is a different beast. It’s harder to take marketshare because you’re marketing is somewhat confined to the App Store search whereas with web apps you have the wide-open Internet to play with.


I’m on board with Ian as well. It’s going to be a very rare bootstrapper who has the combination of time, money, and energy sufficient to:

  1. Discover an uncontested market
  2. Educate prospective customers sufficiently to create demand for the product

That’s really some “competing against non-consumption” stuff, and tends to be the purview of the well-funded. I can absolutely see why a VC-funded company might want to do that, but a bootstrapper? Ludicrous.

Think of it this way - entering an existing market means that your market is pre-validated for you. That’s one less thing you have to worry about doing. You get to pick and choose which competitors to take one. You get to pick and choose which existing segment of the market to attack, instead of having to do tons of the discovery work that comes with cracking new markets. You get to use your existing competition as concrete research as to what does and does not work. And finally, you don’t ever have to wonder “is this something people are willing to spend money on?” because they’re already spending money on it.