How to Achieve World Domination? - Fortune

How to Achieve World Domination?

A lot of people think that the proper way to achieve world domination is to create an architecture that will solve the whole world’s problems and then some. We’ve been seeing quite a few of them since Joel on Software wrote this article: Ruby, Google Go, Node.js, Mozilla’s Rust, Clojure, Scala, Perl 6, etc. Some of them have or will mature to something truly nice, or have inspired a lot of features in other languages, but it’s hard for plain-old-single-you to compete with them, and here is something interesting: not too many people want them.

What do people want? Chuck Norris/etc. factoids, lolcats and other captioned images, funny cat videos, parodies of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (♥), photos of attractive (or even not too attractive) men and women, screencasts of games or other programs (including many open source programs), photos of scenery, new and improved recipes for preparing food (and of course - tasty food itself), new, old or renovated jokes, and some interesting tales and anecdotes from your life. And naturally - programs that can will scratch an itch - however small.

Some people told me that my solver for Freecell and other solitaire games, simply called Freecell Solver is useless, but it's not - it's just a niche program. And I received hundreds of E-mails about it. Furthermore, given that Freecell is (or used to be) a big phenomenon in Israel, where many boys and girls starting from the age of 18 found themselves playing it on the Israeli military computers out of boredom, then the fact that I have written a solver for it, has impressed many people I talked with or met, including some attractive (both physically and intellectually) young ladies, and they ended up asking me about how it was written, and which algorithms it employed.

So Freecell Solver was one of my most successful programs, not despite being a niche program, but because of it. Niche programs own. Not only that, but niche everything is great. Many people whom I referred to my stories helped themselves to the screenplay Star Trek: “We, the Living Dead” because it contained Star Trek in the name, and because there are quite a few fans of the Star Trek franchise and worlds.

The more of a niche artwork you write, the more a large subset of those who like it, are likely to pay attention to it, try it out, and enjoy it. For more information, see Eric Sink’s excellent and inspiring essay “How to get people talking about your product”. For example, DuckDuckGo was originally marketed as a search engine by Perl geeks, and for Perl geeks. It was a good marketing decision because the Perl community is small, cohesive and is at a good strategical position to influence other communities. Right now, many people who are not Perl programmers, are using it, as well as, or even in preference to Google, but choosing Perl was a good preliminary strategical decision. We can expect that with the future growth of DuckDuckGo, that it will use more performant technologies than Perl more and more, but it will still owe some of its initial success to starting out as a Perl product.

Author Shlomi Fish
Work “ANN: My Transition From Software Developer to Writer/Entertainer/Amateur Philosopher/Internet Celebrity”