At Kaplak we’ve adopted the use of the term ‘niche’ in order to describe an aspect of the industrial economy, even though it is quite insufficient to describe the changes and challenges we mean to describe. We’ve already gotten a clear definition of ‘niche’ from Chris Anderson, which is that ‘niche is something which interests few people passionately’, in contrast to mainstream, which is what many people are moderately interested in.
However, this is looking at things from the viewpoint of an industrial economy, not from the perspective of the people and businesses who live and experience a particular field of expertise, meeting and selling to particular customers.
Inevitably, to begin with we’ll have to use the vocabulary of the industrial economy to describe what’s happening in the new economy of a digitally connected world. Along the way we’ll find if the meaning of the terms we use change to mean something else, or if we need to invent completely new concepts to describe what’s happening.
If we want to understand how niches work, we need to get in touch with you, who may be our future user and customer. What do your online activities entail? What do you produce? How do you sell it? What are your greatest opportunities and challenges? To paraphrase Steve Blank, “opinion is inside the building, data is outside the building”. This is what we need our mailing list for. We hope to obtain your help to give us a refreshing reality check on “what life is about on the slim end of the long tail”. If you’d like to help out, you can do this, by
signing up on our mailing list here. We’ll get in touch.
[Note: The mailing list has been suspended for the time being - please follow our feed or create an entry about yourself in our wiki if you'd like to help out.]
This blog will keep on investigating the challenges we face, not just theoretically. With your help, we’ll seek to unfold more examples of online niche communities and businesses which shed more light on the day-to-day methods, practices and challenges in what we (so far) refer to as branches of a global “niche” economy.