AI shovels don't beat AI apps

NFTPort sells tools in web3. I've heard people say that this is a smart approach in a volatile market, because selling shovels in a gold rush is safer than looking for gold yourself.

That seems wrong. Sure, during the rush your revenue is more stable, but you still depend on that market's macro cycle. Once the gold rush is over, your shovel business will go under. So even if building tools feels safer, it isn't necessarily.

"AI shovel" startups are all the rage now, following on from "web3 shovels" in the past few years. I reckon most founders of the AI shovel companies have not mentally played out the inevitable burst of the bubble, and what then will happen to their startup. (This is not to mention the many other arguments against building a thin developer tooling layer in the current AI market.)

There's no silver bullet; every startup is essentially a bet on the size or growth of a market. But if you build an AI-driven HR tool then your success is not so strongly correlated to the current level of AI hype.