I grew up surrounded by comic books, tv shows and movies about superheros. I always found a superhero's origin story to be the most important part. It explains the character's history to help the audience connect with her. How it all started and how she came to be the way she is today.
You can view business categories in a similar way to a superhero's journey. They usually start with people building tools in-house to get a specific job done. Somebody then starts the first business focused on helping people get that job done better, faster and cheaper. Then more people come into the category, it evolves and the rest is history.
As part of my product talk at Yelp a couple of weeks ago, I included a few slides about the origin story of A/B testing. It's a SaaS category that's on my mind and I've been recently documenting it's history.
The team at KISSmetrics, where I am co-founder and a board member, recently switched to Slack from HipChat. This got me thinking more about the category of team communication and it's origin story. It's a SaaS category where I've used all the products that have existed. My thinking resulted in a tweet and the urge to write a currently unpublished blog post.
We're all creating new things out of nothing. History can play an important role in helping us decide what to do and what not to do with our own initiatives. Finding the origin story of a category enables you to understand it's evolution and helps you form a point of view about what's next.
What's the origin story of your business category?