Brad graciously offers an alternative view that I shall add to my constant yakking about Extreme Business Planning and the wasteful (stupid?) tendency to sit in a closed room to decide "who will use our product for what". An exercise with approximately nil probability of success.
He's talking about "broad horizontal technologies" that can be applied to many different "vertical markets". But Brad adds something important:
"Now, a traditional enterprise sales (or marketing) executive could say “of course you want to target health care organizations – that’s one of the biggest verticals around, after finance, insurance, manufacturing, government, … ” (you get the idea.) However, in advance of real customers, all the startup is doing is guessing at what people are going to do with the horizontal technology. Imagine going to a typical health care organization and saying “would you like to buy some enterprise RSS.” Not very effective.
I hate spending bucks early in the life of a company (and market) to try to create vertical market demand. However, there comes a time when it becomes obvious you have enough customers in a market segment that you can start to get vertical with your selling efforts while continuing to extend your “horizontal platform technology” into new and exciting areas"
I can "see" how the "broad horizontal technology" is left spreading slowly over the horizontal plane until it finds cracks of specific needs, the verticals where it can freely flow into. Cheaper, better, efficient, unobtrusive, smart as methods goes.
Thingamy is definitely broad in enterprise and organisational terms, now to pour it slowly onto the horizontal surface so it can find the obvious vertical cracks! Just have to uncork it...