There’s a newish category of startups whose value proposition is that they will deliver gas to your car while it’s parked. Millions of Silicon Valley capital has gone into this new disruptive industry, reinventing how we fuel our vehicles.

Admittedly, I have a bit of a battitude about this idea: have we really reached a world where the opportunity cost of getting gas is too high? Lest I throw too many stones, let me say these solutions have their merits, are created by well-intentioned people, and are not all that different than when I use Instacart.

However the ideation, quantity, and investment in these apps is reflective of an overall problematic bias in our industry.

We are programmed to recognize problems we are faced with and use our particular toolsets to solve those problems.

When the owners of a valued skillset are relatively homogenous, the problems they’re facing aren’t reflective of the full scope of challenges the World faces.

Because of this bias to solve things in front of us, we have to go against the grain to be more privy to things outside our natural intersections. We have to go out of our way to seek out problems.

So how can we be more privy to other problems?

  • Expand your inputs. Our minds take inputs, process them, and turn them into outputs. By diversifying our inputs through different industries, viewpoints and publications, there will be a natural change in what we focus on and create.
  • Reconsider your role. You can’t reinvent what you don’t know. There’s a time and space for disruption, but most of the time, enablement is actually what’s best. There are few things more arrogant than going into a space you know nothing about and changing everything. The enabler takes a deep dive into the minutia of a problem, meets people where they’re at, and creates solutions.
  • Partner with experts. This one is most important. If you have a specific skillset, you may be extremely knowledgeable at that particular thing, but understand that means you aren’t that great at most everything else. If you can find someone who understands the complexities of an industry, problem, etc, they can carry the burden of the problem/solution match while you focus on the execution of your craft.

Why is it worth it do to this?

  • Being more aware of other problems than your own, promotes a gamut of opportunities and solutions that is more representative of our populations. Our skillsets can be applied to everyone instead of those who are just like us.
  • There is incredible need in untapped markets for your solutions. By focusing on industries that haven’t yet been touched with your skillset, competition is low and financial reward is high.

Understanding other people’s problems is hard and exhausting. However with a renewed focus on expanding our focus, we can create a more profitable ecosystem that has a greater impact on the whole.

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