When I was a child I used to play a lot of this board game called dominoes. I still enjoy playing a game or two today. An interesting strategy in playing dominoes is to align each of the domino in various orders within your hand. For example, all the dominoes with sixes would be grouped together. This was done for clarity and perhaps convenience given the challenge of playing with two hands and at least seven dominoes. It was also to have an easier outward flow of each domino as you would play.
Dominoes remind me of aggregation and the process by which things are grouped for the purpose of achieving clarity, convenience or even efficiency. I think as far back as the time when farmers would use aggregation to better manage their crop or animals. Governments around the world would use aggregation to solve certain convenience challenges like registering for a business or paying taxes.
Well today we see no real difference with the idea of aggregation. Particularly with the growth and popularity of technology, things are being aggregated across almost every verticals you can imagine. It may have started with aggregating businesses with telephone contact and other info within a directory and call it a phone book. Or aggregating individual interests and preferences in a single environment and call it Facebook. This concept of aggregation seems to have maintained its usefulness throughout the ages.
For aggregation to make sense though, one would need to think about a set of challenges that could be solved if bringing a certain number of elements of something together as a unified effort. Example, Amazon, Apple and Google are all using the process of aggregation to solve mane challenges. Just take a look at how large these companies are.
Amazon aggregates vendors who can provide a list of products for sale. All these vendors are housed in the same environment which solves the challenge of shopping from each of these vendors knowing you may not find what you want without going else where. Now you can find anything on Amazon with just one search.
Google aggregates websites and presents it to persons who may have an interest in finding those sites through keywords. I am not wrong if I also say they aggregate keywords and serve webpages to people conducting search with those keywords. Now you can find anything on google with just a few searches..maybe one.
Apple aggregates apps within an ecosystem that is accessed via devices provided by them called iPhone, iPads, Macbooks etc. With these devices you get to access apps, browse the web and more in a single environment that they provide.
The idea of the day has to be aggregation because of its ability to unify elements that once created challenges or had potential to create challenges. Who is going to create the next big aggregation? What will that look like? Perhaps if aggregation could be solved on smaller scales first, there may be opportunities to scale into something larger.
I can argue that the aggregation of things are intrinsically tied into the preferences and interests of people. It’s like you wouldn’t have Expedia or Trivago if people did not have a preference or interest to conveniently find hotels and airlines with better values.
As an entrepreneur or someone who is thinking about starting up a business but not sure what to start with, I recommend giving aggregation some thought. You may just find the right idea you need to get you going. But as a caution you must not lose the thought of the usefulness of your aggregation methodologies over the next ten or twenty even thirty years from now. Some challenges do stick around for quite sometime.
The views and opinion expressed within are that of myself with all rights reserved.