One thing I’ve thought about lately is consumption, media, and population pools. My thoughts have really centered around niche sports and hobbies emerging into the mainstream markets. The first business I ever did online was selling things like Pokemon cards, Beanie Babies, Playstation 2s, etc. on auction sites like Yahoo! Auctions (RIP) and eBay. It was really just finding emerging products and hype/fad items. I’ve always enjoyed following trends on ideas or products. It’s all about where culture transitions to.
In middle school we watched the growth of skating/skateboarding as guys like Tony Hawk became cultural icons. Everyone at school started wearing brands like Etnies, Volcom, DC Shoes, Flip, Blind, Element, Independent, etc. Skateboarding became cool. Kids started bringing finger boards to school (miniature toy skate boards that you can play with using 2 fingers).
My first real personal experience with a niche activity going mainstream was partaking in the emergence of poker in the United States. I remember watching Chris Moneymaker win the WSOP on ESPN. I even remember the day I saw it: New Year’s Eve. I played about 12 hours of Texas Hold’Em the next day on a free Yahoo! Games account. The next 3 years after that are still a blur of cards. Stud. No-Limit. You name it.
I remember about 2 years ago reading up on web marketing forums about guys buying up loads of Mixed Martial Arts domain names. They were talking about the imminent emergence of MMA into a big league sport and they were speculating on the popularity as a means of re-selling the domain names for big profits. They were right. MMA is now all the rage. It has overtaken the traditional fighting entertainment of boxing. MMA now reigns supreme.
It gets me thinking, what really marks the emergence of these formerly niche activities (i.e poker, MMA, etc.) into the light of the masses?
What gets people excited about a formerly in-the-background topic? Humans have not changed for thousands of years. Yesterday’s gladiator games are today’s MMA cage matches.
It gets me thinking about the rise of an attention economy where the masses constantly seek new forms of entertainment consumption. People want new ways to distract themselves and new ways to feel the same emotions.
I also think about our ever growing population. The more people we have, obviously the more niches we can support. It also then leads to the evolution of micro-niches. Maybe that’s the reason I’ve seen domino championships and cup stacking competitions on TV.
I wonder what the next emerging activities are? Kiteboarding is one I’ve been hearing more and more about. It’s basically surfing with a kite attached that lifts you up in the air.
It’ll be cool to see what comes next.