In short, there ought to be some checklist regarding potential unicorns, to keep VCs from investing in what basically constitutes one giant exercise in wishful engineering. If anything has been proven over the past decade, is that billions gravitating towards a certain investment is a huge vortex in itself, drawing in other investors, scoring media attention, etc. It requires a bit of what I call complimentary thinking (“if something is supposed to work, why hasn’t it yet for the same reasons used in the pitch?”) to assess why some investments are doomed, like throwing money into a black hole.
Identifying unicorns doesn’t have to be a lucky draw during the investment process or the benefit of hindsight. The best ones usually turn out to be very elementary in what they set out to do. The internet (quintessence: instant interactivity in communicating) was already underway for decades, before someone put it to ‘good use’ in social networking, and before someone else promoted the mobile phone to THE basic tool in mobile internet it is now.