A website by Patrick White

A Forgotten Prerequisite to Starting a Business: Deciding Who You Care About

I’ve talked about how you get to choose your customers when starting a business and alluded to the fact that you should probably choose people you care about. In trying to do that myself, I was faced with contemplating who I care about.

So, who do I care about? Well, my girlfriend and family, obviously, but that’s pretty small market to build a product around. Who else? Well, that’s where things get interesting.

Contemplating who you care about in the large (i.e. not friends and family) is something I don’t think most people think about that often. I certainly hadn’t. But I realized there are large groups or types of people I do, in fact, care about.

I found those groups by first asking myself, “What do I love?” Again, my girlfriend and family are the obvious first answers, but there are others beyond that. There are technologies I love like Redis and DynamoDB and Ruby. There’s the Internet as a whole, which has been a powerful force in my life. And there are public records, which I have a weird love-like obsession with.

Thinking about my love of certain technologies made me realize that I care about developers. I feel a tribal kinship with these people because of our shared love of various technologies.

Thinking about the Internet, I came up with the idea of a Citizen of the Internet and decided that these Citizens of the Internet are indeed people I care about.

Thinking about public records, I decided I might just be weird, but I’d love to one day find fellow lovers of public records.

So, I found a couple of groups of people I care about, Citizens of the Internet and software developers, and think, one day, I’d like to have one or another of them as customers.