If cuff links didn’t exist and you invented them, would they succeed?

I have got one shirt in my closet with French cuffs. As I looked at it one day, hanging there quiet lonely, I got to thinking about cuff links.

Cuff links are arguably a nice way for men to wear jewelry, and they were no doubt functional back in the day. But it’s difficult to argue much of a utilitarian use today.

Yet they persist.

They persist because stamping them out completely is essentially impossible. They are an anachronism, part of a system that many never go away. We can’t get rid of them until all the long sleeve shirts are gone, but as long as there are long sleeve shirts with French cuffs, there will be cuff links, which will only encourage people to buy more French cuffs!

Stores can sell plenty of shirts with holes for cuff links. If there were no holes there would be no cuff links. As long as there are holes, there will be a demand for them.

So if you are trying to invent a product or service that requires the rest of the industry to put a hole out there for you to fill, good luck.

Starting a new industry standard is really difficult. Leveraging one that already exists is easy. If you can figure out a way to profit from an existing “hole,” you have got yourself a huge advantage.

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