The other day I heard a fascinating episode of the podcast “Pivot” with Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway, where they talked with a guest about the potential in space exploration and colonizing the Moon and different planets.
In the podcast the point was made that when it comes to the Moon, every big nation wants to set up camp in pretty much the same place: Near the South Pole on the edge between the dark side of the Moon and the side that actually gets sunlight.
And why is that?
Obviously, the people who are going to be staying there, want to be in the light in order to function. But the most ressources, including the possibility for finding water, is on the dark side.
Hence you want to find the right balance of sun and darkness by being on the edge.
What kind of implication does that potentially have for startups?
One could be that in order to really be able to change things and make a profound impact, you need to be operating on the demarkation line between sun and darkness;
On the sunny side you will be able to communicate your vision and engage your customers by using arguments and value propositions that they will understand and engage with.
On the dark side you will be uncovering the differentiating way of solving your customers problems that will ultimately set you apart from the competition.
Now, what happens if you don’t find that line, that edge?
If you’re too much on the sunny side you may be able to get attention. But your offering will probably not over the long run be differentiated enough to sustain an advantage over the competition. Put in another way: You run the risk of flaming out in the sunlight.
If you’re however too much on the dark side, you run the classic risk of working on something that nobody will ever really figure out could be a solution to your problem. You will so to say be alone in the dark. Until you die (which startups doing something nobody can see the benefit of eventually do).
So think about your Moon-shot so to say and set about finding the position near the edge between light and darkness. It might take some serious experimentation to get it right, but isn’t that what any kind of exploration is really all about?