A Myriad of Niches

I saw a great post this morning from Kristen Nicole at Mashable. She covered several of her favorite companies here at DEMO, including good2gether, Redux, and Huddle. What got me thinking though, was a point in her intro.

I thought perhaps I’d be able to organize this roundup by grouping the type of company. However, each of these companies is so different, that such organization turned out to be quite impossible. This observation can be applied to more than just this handful of companies I’m covering in this post, which speaks to the deeper integration and cultivating of niche capabilities that is a product of our current application economy.

It’s a point that merits further consideration: the tech economy, once easily classifiable into broad strokes – enterprise, consumer, software, hardware – has transmuted into a rich landscape of niches. Even a newer label like ‘social Web’ no longer fits; one has to append it with ‘shopping,’ ‘graph,’ ‘storytelling,’ etc etc.

It’s the natural evolution of tech cycles and sure to be repeated many more times down the road. One big revolution hits the tech sector – the Internet, mobility, Web 2.0 – and a thousand (or more) companies follow in its wake, attempting their own spin on the same story. Once the dust settles, interesting little ideas begin to pop up; innovative angles on the original big concept that remind us of just how much ingenuity exists in the tech world.

As Kristen notes, this is readily apparent at DEMO this week. Now that every possible niche social network has been created, it’s time to play around and see where the social Web can really take us. There are a myriad of directions in which to go and DEMO is exploring several of those. Some great examples: YouChoose, a distributed commenting widget that brings much needed critical mass to a highly disparate space; Standout Jobs, bringing social media tools to recruiting efforts; Delver, a search service based on your social graph; and Movial, a company putting the social graph in your pocket.

There are more notable companies exploring new niches in technology. We’ll take a look at few more intriguing themes later today.

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