I’ve been thinking about some different ways you can look at the internet to create business opportunities.  This is a  way to look at products and how they can solve problems on the web.  There are many great business models in technology, but these are a few that I’ve seen some good success with.

Unstructured Data:

Creating order in the chaos. The web is a massive labyrinth of mostly unstructured data and people are finding ways to organize and distribute the information. Many companies have had great success with this philosophy. Ever heard of a little company called Google?  This is probably the best example of how a company monetized the sorting and distributing the unstructured data on the web.

People are constantly finding ways to organize information better, and this is leading to many companies in this space. The growth of “Big Data” companies like Factual is an example of this.

Adjacent Markets:

Another interesting business model approach is when companies find big markets, match them with technology trends, and then find a way to take a portion of the market for their business.  I heard this termed “shaving off adjacent markets”.

Take Mobile Phones. There are 5 Billion mobile phones in the world.  449 Million are smartphones. 10 Million smartphone user utilize the location-based sharing application Foursquare. The founders identified smartphones as an emerging trend and believed a decent size portion would want to “check-in” to wherever they are. Now they have created and captured a new market. And a $600 million valuation.

Zynga is another example. It was originally built as a poker application on top of the Facebook Platform. Mark Pincus was originally planning to shave off a small number of Facebook’s few million users. He then rode that small adjacent market to a $10B company.

Physical Communities:

This is about niche physical communities that can now be created via the web with creativity and curation. This is a philosophy similar to adjacent markets, but I learned this different spin on the concept from Zach Klein.

His thinking in this area is much better exemplified by the two applications his company built: Svpply and Vimeo.

What makes these products amazing is that they are built around niche communities created by creative, interesting products and then curating them for high quality user experience.

Those guys don’t disclose a lot about their numbers, but I did read this interesting quote:

In the past month the site (Svpply) has had 130,000 unique visitors and they are launching an API soon.

To Boot, Svpply raised $500,000 from SparkCapital in a series A round from the Founder’s Collective,  SV Angel and Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley earlier this year. Another example of a great philosophy for products and business.

As I said  in the beginning, these are only a few of the many, many ways to look at the web and technology space. These are just a few I find interesting. Share some more ideas in the comments below if you have them.