There was much discussion this weekend about Jerry Neumann's article, "Heat Death: Venture Capital in the 1980s", which chronicles the evolution of the venture capital industry from its start in the 1960s.
One interesting part of the article was how the industry learned about the difference between market risk and technology risk. Market risk is "will people buy it" and technology risk is "will it work". In the current period, VCs generally take market risk and avoid technology risk.
However, as I thought about this dichotomy, the logic of "do something better" kept coming back to me. This approach minimizes both risks or at least frequently does, by taking an existing technology and customer base and offering something better. Google and Apple computers would be examples where the state-of-the art was advanced a bit but there was little breakthrough in terms of technology or customer base. (Amazon might have been an example of market risk and Akamai might have been an example of technology risk when they launched.)
Perhaps one is well served to understand where the business concept is on the continuum of both market and technology risk and to realize that great opportunities may exist with small changes in the market or technology risk factor.