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Reinventing the Wheel

Fred posted about contrarian investing today, and it prompted a thought.

When someone says "we don't have to reinvent the wheel", I say "why not".

Reinvention of the wheel has brought incredible improvements to transportation. The electric motor is combining a wheel with electricity. Tiny wheels move parts along a production line. A giant wheel creates a cheesy gameshow.

I'm wondering what company will launch a desktop, web-integrated CRM system through the retail sector. Huge opportunity given the layoffs and endless reinvention the unemployed and retiring are experiencing.  I tried and failed with CircleDog--never hit the shelves.

I'm working on two things right now that are complementary. One deals with digital distractions/productivity, and people react to it like "I totally need that", and the other is something that has many different "competitors" in a relatively mature market, and people say "I get it" but don't get excited about it (they haven't used it, though).

The funny thing is that the second thing is something I would use every day, and I don't like the existing stuff that's out there (too much stuff, too locked in), so I decided to build my own.

The mainstream view would be that it's a market already addressed so the opportunity isn't there. The contrarian view would be the market should be a lot bigger, but the existing products don't scratch the itch.

We'll see.

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