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TB#40: Build Something Boring to Win


I always say the chance to build something exciting is the best reason to create online.

But there are so many ways to skin a cat. And boring is one of them.

As long as you do what feels natural to you, you’re most likely doing it right.

This week, I’ll share some related and painful personal reflections with a quick lesson on how the world (and humans) work.

And let’s start with a harsh one…

Your Shiny Brand Doesn’t Really Matter that Much

This is often a problem for people with highly specialised knowledge, talent or skills.

Most likely, that’s you!

So when you think and dream first, you think you need to create the new ChatGPT or something that is technologically so far out there that it melts brains and shines brighter than the sun.

And then you spend weeks polishing the minor details: The homepage, the brand, the logos, the fonts, whatever. Everything. You create elaborate funnels and plans on paper, and keep talking to yourself how the monster you’re creating will conquer the world in one big swoop.

And then… crickets.

Because nobody needed it anyway. Only in your dreams was there ever a demand for your product.

I’ve gone through this many times.

Sometimes painfully so. And ha, I will most likely do it in the future, too. I just love to build stuff.

But, and here’s a big but: if you want to get money from the world for your efforts, there’s a better way.

Check out this gem from George:

Create products for hungry people. And surprise them with something that aligns with people’s beliefs.

Think about hungry people. Like, literally hungry. When you go to a restaurant hungry, you want to buy everything including the biggest juiciest burger they’re selling.

The same is true with everything, not just food!

And what are people’s beliefs?

So, let’s take a niche I know something about: Academia.

The two strongest beliefs I see now with young doctoral students are:

1) The importance of publishing a lot

2) The necessity for work-life balance

Yes, these are beliefs, not hard facts.

There are ways around both, but that’s not our point now here.

Do not get stuck on thinking what’s true. Think of what your audience believes.

So then, following George’s recipe, if I was to create something in academia I could focus on a product that helps people publish more in less time, using a method that has never been seen before.

The method?

Ok, one trendy way to deliver products is Notion dashboards and collaboration systems.

So why not build a notion dashboard to help people publish more, faster, that also focuses on self-care and healthy work-life boundaries?

That’s just one example.

What’s Boring now was Once Novel

Another gem I stumbled upon was a website that focuses on converting copy-pasted text into different casings (no clue if that’s a word even).

Anyway, CAPITAL, lower case, Camel Case, etc. Those things.

And the website makes 5 figs a month.

Obviously, there’s a ton of work under the hood, search engine optimization and figuring out which ads to deploy on the site, but the CORE IDEA is boring.

But the audience is hungry. And once upon a time, this was a new thing. To just copy-paste a snippet in the browser and get an edited one back.

The delivery was different!

Here’s the brain twist: Everything you build today will be boring one day.

And it’ll continue to work, as long as the audience stays hungry.

So even if you build something boring NOW, it’ll work as long as your audience is hungry.

Just aim to be a bit different. Be you.

Isn’t this a cool world to explore?

Okay, to recap key ideas for this week:

  1. Think of the beliefs of a group
  2. Build something they haven’t seen before
  3. It doesn’t have to be all that novel, a new delivery mechanism is enough!

See you again next week!


About the author 

Simo Hosio  -  Simo is an award-winning scientist, Academy Research Fellow, research group leader, professor, and digital builder. This site exists to empower people to build passion projects that support professional growth and make money.

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