As to having an answer to “why” before launching a product in a new technology that you believe in, I think that in the now, few if any startups have that answer in anything like the form that is taught in business cases or written about in books. Anything written about is history. On Monday morning, it is easy to reconstruct a case for “why” out of what has proven to work. Likewise, in the now, it’s easy to challenge a proposal with “why” and demand the same level of explanation that is offered in the historical rewrites that the victors (or their chronologers) offer.
Why did Intel launch? To make memory. Why did they launch the uP? To deal with a flaky customer. Why is Intel a household name? Because they got out of the memory business and instead poured all their effort into creating and supporting better versions of a product that had nothing to do with the “why” of their founding, then finding value unimagined in the “why” of the original uP design concept.
When I got involved with personal computers in 79, there was no “why”. We just wanted to make them, and we loved the concept so much that we believed other people would love them too. Later, when a group of us developed PC measurement instruments the “why” was very limited in scope After the products launched the customers showed us “WHY” in blazing letters and those of us who listened to them prospered.
Having lived through four technology waves that created trillions is value I’ve learned that the “why” is never known at the outset. What is known is that something wonderful is about to happen. If you feel it, and immerse yourself in it, you might become the crest of that wave, or at least get pushed up into the high rent district with the rest of the driftwood. What matters is that you believe in the wave, and you jump in.
I think IoT is one of those waves. I think Particle could easily be another Microsoft, or Apple, or Intel, if Particle become the core on which all this automated/sensing/connectivity is built. Was that the “why” the first prototype was built? Not from my reading of the genesis of this company. Of course, Intel could decide to jump in early, with Particle like devices, and more support, and more sales outlets, and a massive customer base and reputation and Particle would disappear. Intel should jump in, but will they. IBM let Microsoft happen, and they should not have. “Why”? Perhaps because they were telling themselves that without a strong “why” there was no opportunity.
So Bean Team, and all the other dreamers (like me) out here imagining a world where IoT is ubiquitous, don’t worry too much about why. Its a tidal wave. Jump in and surf the crest, get pushed way up on shore, or just get drowned. I don’t believe you can predict where your dream will land you. All I know for certain is that if you don’t jump in until you have a strong “why”, the wave will have already gone by.