Every starving artist sees a place for their work. It’s a dreamscape they can witness. And still, they starve. They think it’s because no one understands them. It’s really because no one needs their work. I’ve been there. I’ve been lost in the dream. I’m not all of the way out of it either. But there’s a path.
It’s not enough to find a gap in the market. We have to find a market in the gap.* Just because we see a place something can fit doesn’t mean there’s a need to fit something there. Welcome to reality. People have wants, needs, and desires. If we want an audience, we have to consider them.
The best work is something people didn’t exactly realize they were looking for until we show/explain/teach it to them and they say, “that’s it!” Every deep-pocketed, well-fed artist has figured out how to make something in one of these gaps. Michelangelo to Steve Jobs, David to the iPhone, they filled a gap.
It takes tests. It takes experiments. It takes rejections. It takes failures. Eventually, it takes traction. It takes doubling-down. It takes moving it forward ever so slowly and sometimes way too quickly. But, once we get it, we go.
Starving to death is a terrible way to go. Find the market in the gap.
*h/t Rory Sutherland. I don’t know if he said this first or if he’s the first person I heard say it, but it’s powerful.