The solution to "what came first ? the chicken or the egg?"
What is the chicken vs egg problem?
There's an old philosophical riddle that asks: Which came first: The chicken or the egg?
If you say chicken, the reply will be "but where did the chicken come from", and if you say the egg came first, the reply will be "but where did the egg come from" ?
The problem also exist in new platforms and marketplaces, for example if you create a marketplace or platform for
music, services, banking or whatever, there can be no buyers if there are no sellers, and there can be no sellers if
there are no buyers.
No one is going to want to use your new music platform if there is no available music. And no artist will want to put their music on your platform if it has no listeners.
And no one will want to use your new credit card if they can't use it in any store. And store's don't want to support your credit card unless there are users wanting to pay with it.
How did I come up with the solution to the chicken vs egg problem ?
I was learning a program called PowerBI,
which is a "buiness intelligence" software for making graphs", like pie charts, line charts, and bar charts.
I had created a data model with the general ledger from our ERP system, the general ledger had dimensions like customer type, country, and cost centre...
In PowerBI you can add a filter chart called slicer. So I had a slicer for customer type, another for country and a third for cost centre.
I wanted to show for example our monthly income, but when I filtered customer type, it only showed sales (all expenses would go away), and when I filtered on cost centre it would only show expenses (all sales/revenue would be filtered out)...
This seemed like the chicken vs the egg problem. Whatever solution I came up with, I couln't get both expenses and sales into the same graph/chart.
My unconscious couldn't drop the problem and later that night and idea struck me - what if the chicken and the egg existed at the same time?
So the next morning I tried cloning the general ledger into two tables, one table for expenses, and another for sales/revenue. And it worked! When I filtered on customer type, the expenses would still show up.
What is the solution to the chicken vs egg problem ?
The solution to any such problem is to have both!
The answer to which came first, the chicken or the egg? is they both came at the same time.
The solution to the platform/market problem is to get both sellers and buyers (at the same time).
Written by Johan Zetterberg Januari 14th, 2023.