Sherlocking Everyone Else

The last few years have seen a great proliferation of linkblogs, by far and away the most popular topic of which is technology and, specifically, Apple. Nevertheless the likes of John Gruber — who did not, despite many erroneous beliefs, invent either the format or topic — and Shawn Blanc have made their mark as entrants to a space established long before their arrival. This not only happens in the blogging space, but the podcasting industry as well where interview shows like Daniel Jalkut’s Bitsplitting came in and sherlocked — ugh — the existing space, which already had plenty of interview programs, with a really great show.

Over the past three weeks much has been said about the podcasting industry. Stephen Hacket, Chris Gonzales, Federico Viticci, and Myke Hurley all wrote articles on this topic, but that didn’t change the fact that I had something to say, and so I contributed my two-cents as well. On one level I sherlocked1 all those other posts, and it worked fine: many loved my article, much to my delight, because I had something interesting and unique to say. Similarly, so many loved Bitsplitting because Daniel Jalkut took a different approach to the tried-and-true interview show format; he, too, had something interesting and unique to contribute to the overarching narrative.

Need I continue?

Just because an app has cornered a particular market niche, or because that market is saturated, is by no means a valid excuse not to enter it. If we applied that logic outside the realm of apps, no one would ever write anything; no new podcasts would hit the market; no one would create another blog. But that’s oversimplifying the problem, as Marco said in Sherlocking Myself Just Fine Over Here: everyone brings their own nuance to bear in creation. All Apple blogs are not the same; no two to-do list apps are the same. Whether through a hundred minute design decisions or the phrasing of a paragraph, every creative product is unique in some way. The challenge, then, should not be whether to enter a market or not, but how your entrant will differentiate itself from the incumbents.

Ugh.