Geotagged at home (51.427051,-0.333344)

The Theory of Stuff

Once again, this is not the post I set out to write. The one I set out to write was called "In Search of Location's Sweet Spot" and it's sitting in draft and not yet posted. That's because before I can submit that post I need to write this one as a warm up act. Just like Anne Elk (Miss)I have a theory. I call it my Theory of Stuff. I'm sure that other people, far more learned and erudite than I, have articulated such a theory but I've yet to come across any evidence for this and for now at least, it remains mine and it contains three buckets, looking something like this:

On the far left hand side we have the stuff bucket. Whilst stuff may sound vague, it's entirely intentional. Stuff is defined as a collection or set of items, things or matter. Though I was focussing primarily on location data and location based mobile services, this applies equally well to other businesses and markets. It could be stock, inventory, left handed widgets or a plethora of other things.

On the far right hand side we have people bucket. The exact number of people doesn't matter, for small businesses the number will probably be small and for large businesses the number will be, err, larger. These people are your customers, your audience. Hopefully they have money as well. And then in the middle we have the secret sauce bucket. Again, it doesn't matter what this is but it's very important to look at what the secret sauce actually does.

  • The secret sauce is a bidirectional pipe that connects stuff to people.
  • It allows you to expose your business's stuff to the people who are your customers, hopefully adding value along the way.
  • It also allows you to extract money from the people in exchange for access to your business's stuff. In the Internet industry we call this monetizing your audience.

In order for your business to succeed, you need to have all three of these buckets in place. Have people and secret sauce but no stuff? Fail. Have stuff and secret sauce but no people? Fail. You get the idea.

Take a look at every business that is succeeding, especially those that are online and where the stuff bucket contains data, and you'll see that they have all three buckets in place. Take a look at those businesses which have failed or are failing, especially those that are online, and you either see one bucket missing or there's just not enough of it.

Gary Gale

I'm Gary ... a Husband, Father, CTO at Kamma, geotechnologist, map geek, coffee addict, Sci-fi fan, UNIX and Mac user