In 1984, Peggy and I launched a niche business—a newsletter and archive service for junk mailers called Who's Mailing What!
Amazingly, it's still going strong—30 years later.
The past couple of weeks the media were rife with stories of niche businesses:
- Your Car As an Advertisement:
University of Delaware graduate Mac Magaswami dreamed up Carvertise, where drivers can earn $100 a month by turning their cars into a rolling billboard.
- Fighting Piracy On the High Seas
For cargo ships, Asian waters are dangerous. Yet crews are not allowed to carry armaments into ports. Mark Gray started Resolution MNG Maritime Ltd.—floating armories that will deliver arms and ammo to cargo ships leaving one port and collect them before entering the next port.
- Sneaker Pawn
Teens are crazy about designer athletic shoes. They also perpetually need walking-around money. Troy Reed and his 16-year-old son Chase opened Sneaker Pawn in New York's Harlem—a pawnshop with high-end sneakers for collateral.
Takeaways to Consider:
- What do these businesses have in common? They were built on top of other businesses.
- Priceline.com founder Jay Walker put me onto this concept. He laid priceline.com on top of the travel industry. He did not own an airline, hotels or rental cars.
- For a brief moment in time following the Priceline.com IPO, Jay Walker's 35,000 square feet of sublet office space in Stamford, Connecticut, with its little assemblage of computers, exotic software, and 177 employees were worth (on paper) $23.1 billion—more than United, Northwest, and Continental Airlines combined.
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