This is a simple model that I came up with by myself and have been using to judge business ideas that I had or saw. I’m sure some other people use similar models.
In my model, the Everyday-Everyone Quadrants model, there are two dimensions:
- X-axis: would people use it on daily basis, or only once a while?
- Y-axis: would this be used by everybody, or only a specific group of people?
Quadrant I is the products that would be (at least in theory) used by nearly everybody out there, and on daily basis (or at least on regular basis like a few times every week or every month). The companies behind these products could reach 100s billion market cap. Everybody wishes they would have an idea in this quadrant and make it a business. On the other hand, for sure it’s very hard to build something that everybody would want to use everyday.
Neighboring to Quadrant I, Quadrant II and IV each takes one element out of the “everyone-everyday” formula: either the “everyone” part, or the “everyday” part.
Quadrant II is these “everyone-but-not-everyday” products, such as LinkedIn, Zillow, Expedia and Angies List. That’s quite obvious: most of us only change job every a couple years (LinkedIn), only buy/sell/rent home every a few years (Zillow), only travel a couple times a year (Expedia) and only need to look for contractors when something needs to be fixed (Angies List). It’s worth noting that some guys in Quadrant II want to move into Quadrant I, by getting users to use their product more often. For example, LinkedIn. They said you should visit http://www.linkedin.com more frequently, rather than only when you want to change job. LinkedIn puts more emphasis on “professional social network”. They told people you can be a passive job seeker by well maintaining your LinkedIn profile. They are trying to be a professional publishing platform, starting from Influencers and later opening up to all members.
At the contrast to Quadrant II, Quadrant IV is “everyday-but-not-for-everyone”. These are specialty products (StackOverflow and GitHub for developers), or targeting at a specific interest group (Twitch for gamer and Leafly for smoker). If done right, companies in Quadrant II and IV can reach 10s billion market cap, or at least billion dollar level. That’s for sure that their sizes can’t compare to those in Quadrant I: the products in Quadrant II and IV are either not getting used less frequently, or not getting used by fewer people.
Quadrant III is kind of the “Do Not Enter” zone, because if a product is only needed by a small group of people, and they only use the product once a while, why would that product become a sizable business? There are some successful products in Quadrant III, but in general, the potential in Quadrant III is much smaller than in the other three quadrants and the return would be smaller, too. From time to time, I did have some idea popping up and after examining it with this Everyday-Everyone Quadrants model, I found it fell into Quadrant III. Then I told myself to forget about it.