It seems at times that technology entrepreneurs have a blind spot. They see their prospective consumers as only people like them: young, educated, urban, wired, worldly. When you stop to think about it, that’s actually a pretty small segment of the population worldwide. Most people work in jobs other than technology, and the majority of the population makes its living doing work that is tough, and at times, boring (at least to geeks).
That’s a pretty big blind spot. There are huge industries back there in the dark. Industries that could be disrupted and improved, industries that are crying out for innovation. That’s not to say that these industries are necessarily backward; but all fields could benefit from innovative thought.
That’s why it’s always refreshing to see startups like Sojabook, from Argentina. Founder Mariano Torrubiano, a lawyer, has created a social network for farmers. By combining the technology that farmers are already adopting — it’s a far more wired occupation than many urbanites would suspect — with social networking tools, farmers can share accumulated knowledge with each other and manage their farms better. And vendors can stay better connected to the needs of their farming customers.
It’s far from a perfect solution, however. There are still wide swaths of Latin America, to say nothing of the rest of the world, that remain un-connected, or under-connected, to the Internet. By definition, farms are often in rural communities, and these are frequently the last to be served by telecommunications companies.
But for those that are connected, technology like Sojabook — a virtual coffee shop, if you will, where farmers can talk about their work — could incrementally improve the farming industry by enabling farmers to follow best practices. And that could help all those food-eaters out there — like you & me.
Hat tip to Startups Argentina.