The fax machine is suffering a long, slow death. The proliferation of home scanners, digital signatures, and cloud computing make it obsolete for any office workers living in the 21st century.

Businesses that were based on making fax machines & their supplies have been forced to pivot, incorporate new products, and evolve with technology.

They’re not running ads, breathlessly trying to convince people that their fax machines are still worth buying.

Not everything that is made is worth being bought.

Click to tweet it!

We all make stuff. We write books, we produce videos, we cast silver, work wood, code apps.

What differentiates the stuff that people want to buy from the stuff that they don’t?

Need. Need and ideas.

What do people need from you?

What are you constantly being asked about?
What are you constantly offering to help with?
What needs, problem, discomforts do you see all around you?
What change – large or small – would you make in the world if you could?
What do you complain about regularly?
What do you think should be easier, faster, more connected, less unpredictable?

For as “advanced” a society as we have, there is still a mind numbing amount of need all around us. If you choose to make something just because you can, not because someone has need of it, you are closing the door on a big opportunity.

Sure, make you want to make. Just don’t expect it to sell if there is no need for it.

Remember that need comes in all colors. I need jewelry. I need espresso. I need an app that syncs my brainwaves from one device to another. Sure, they’re 1st world problems. But people in the 1st world want to buy plenty.

Don’t over think it when it comes to needs. Respond to (even mild) frustration.

The need fax machines once filled is being filled – better – by other devices & services. Now, the need isn’t just for the transfer of information. There’s an idea that collaboration & personal connection need to be a part of the way we exchange information.

What idea do you want to spread?

Jewelry should help you make a statement. We can redefine commerce for the 21st century. Our digital networks are connected to our human networks. Knitting & crochet can save the world. You can create your own bliss in digital business.

The most memorable and successful businesses today are making products out of ideas. Apple turns unconventional thinking, design, and ease of us into cult computing products. Toms turns the desire to put shoes on 3rd world feet into cult footwear in the 1st world. Lululemon turns active lifestyle into cult workout clothing.

Their ideas are a big part of what makes their products worth buying, at the prices they charge.

Their ideas turn their products into symbols of community, advocacy, and shared-purpose.

I believe that we all have ideas that we want to spread. I believe that we all have frustrations we wish to ease. I believe that we all see problems in our communities and among our friends & family that could use our impact.

Channel those ideas into products that fill needs.

PS Not ready to take your ideas to the world? No problem. There are hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs out there who need you. They need to you make what they design, write what they think, market what they sell, sell what they offer. Align yourself to a company or visionary with a shared purpose and you can use the skills you have without putting your ideas to the test quite yet.

PPS If your business is built on ideas & real needs, you’re in the right place. Make sure you’re subscribed (below) to receive insight & updates on thriving in 21st century business. You are the New Economy.