Schlep Blindness

— 2 minute read

This post by Paul Graham continues on the theme that I referenced in a earlier post about resolutions for designers that Dale Zak has been harping1 on local developers - solve real world problems and the money will follow. Don't try to create a solution for a problem nobody really has (I know - a location check-in app that allows you to show what clothes you're wearing AND if you're carrying a badger or not. Cha-ching!) and instead look for problems and create appropriate solutions.

The most striking example I know of schlep blindness is Stripe2, or rather Stripe's idea. For over a decade, every hacker who'd ever had to process payments online knew how painful the experience was. Thousands of people must have known about this problem. And yet when they started startups, they decided to build recipe sites, or aggregators for local events. Why? Why work on problems few care much about and no one will pay for, when you could fix one of the most important components of the world's infrastructure? Because schlep blindness prevented people from even considering the idea of fixing payments.

If these kinds of thoughts are going around among developers then maybe3 2012 will be a great year for solutions to more of the real world problems that really smart developers and designers could be solving.

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  1. Harping in the nicest sense of the word. 
  2. Stripe is an alternative to PayPal for developers to use. 
  3. Hopefully?