Five Kinds of Startup: Digital

Packaging, Access, Adoption, Tailoring, Evolution
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The last two installments of the Five Kinds of Startup Series have been cake. I can pretty much explain what a Product Startup does in four words: Make something, sell something. The same thing is true for Service Startups: Do something, get paid.

This is not true for all startups. And it's especially not true for Digital Startups.

While all businesses are unique, there are really only a few kinds of startup. How these companies operate, grow, and succeed will depend on what kind they are. Thus, a lot of the decisions you will make and paths you will take will depend on what kind of startup you're running.

I debated calling this category Information Startups or Data Startups, because I believe those terms make it easier to understand the type. But ultimately, those are really just subcategories of a greater whole.

For example, the most obvious (and overdone) example of an information startup is a social network: Facebook. If you think of a photo of someone's lunch as a computer file broken down into millions of bits of data and passed over the Internet tubes to be accessed by potentially billions of people, you've got the components of information, data, and content startups. So the Digital Startup is really about collecting, packaging, and delivering those ones and zeros, whether they form a jpg file or a massive database of sales information.

This means that Digital Startups are a bit of a riddle. So before we dive in, let's make sure we're all talking about the same thing.


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