Core Needs

“People are good and trustworthy and generally just concerned with getting through the day,” Newmark says. If most people are good and their needs are simple, all you have to do to serve them well is build a minimal infrastructure allowing them to get together and work things out for themselves. Any additional features are almost certainly superfluous and could even be damaging.”
Craig Newmark  (of CraigsList fame)

So what are there real needs?

I’m trying to (naively?) boil down all the successful software, websites and web applications out there and see if it can be mapped into as few categories as possible:

  1. Communication (Social networks, Basecamp, etc.)
  2. Organization (Google Docs, Flickr, Backpack, etc.)
  3. Information (Content websites, News websites, Search engines, etc.)
  4. Entertainment (YouTube,, Blogs/Journals/Twitter, etc.)
  5. E-Commerce (Amazon, Paypal, etc.) (Category added thanks to Ankesh)

Note that the website that you use may fit into different categories in different circumstances.

The idea is to not search for a comprehensive or accurate classification.

The idea is: If you brainstorm an idea or come across someone else’s  idea, can you trace it back to one of these categories? If yes, what does it mean? If no, what does it mean?

Is this a useful angle to evaluate an idea, or not?