I like VC investor @fredwilson's contrarian yet wise view of a key to investing. Look for the good or service that is "mocked and misunderstood. For some reason, that correlates highly with the biggest breakout successes."
Things that do well, but are on the cutting edge, and move us, at least a little, out of our comfort zone, get mocked. People do that thing, but are uncomfortable on some level with doing so, and perhaps have a "should" feeling they shouldn't be consuming or doing whatever the thing is. (It's more complicated than pure guilt, I'd posit.)
Fred points to Twitter as a prime example of a mocked service, and Kickstarter as another up-and-comer that was mocked the other night on NBC's evening news. That brings him comfort.
Comedians, especially satirists, and many artists also point out the thing that's absurd or unsure, or not the majority opinion. They offer new paths and ways of thinking. They can be pointing out paths to greater sanity and satisfaction. But that moment of discomfort, mixed with realization, gets the laugh or the "aha" nod.
When I see ads that say "4 out of 5 people surveyed" like this gum or that detergent, I usually think about the 5th one, and often I'm that person. Or I think of the ways that, even if I'm in the majority, that thing I like could be improved. Of course, going with the one out of five is not a sure-fire way to spell success in business.
But, risk-taking -- as any investor tells you -- gets the higher rewards and, as Fred says, not doing "the obvious" produces the best outcomes. He's always looking for an edge in mitigating risk, and this is an intriguing method.