How do you come up with that idea? Paul Graham, who sees hundreds of startup ideas every year through his startup accelerator program Y-Combinator, laid it out in a long blog post.
If you’re serious about doing a startup, it’s worth a read. But, if you’re just curious about how people can come up with ideas for a startup, here’s the simple, two minute version of the story.
- Method One: Figure out what’s a problem in your life, then solve it. If it’s a problem for you, then odds are its a problem for others. Don’t worry if you think your problem is super narrow. That’s okay. Just make sure you’re solving a problem for yourself and others. Make sure the product make is a must-have for your narrow set of users. Once they’re hooked, then you can think about broadening out.
- Method Two (and this one is trickier): “Live in the future and build what seems interesting,” says Graham. Essentially, you should start thinking about the world is going to be, rather than how it has been, and from there, you spot where the next opportunity will be, rather than where the last opportunity was. How do you get your mind in the future? You have to start using leading edge technologies. You have to hang out with people developing leading edge technologies. Then you have to figure out what those technologies will lead to, and how you can exploit what they lead to.
Other tips on doing a startup:
- Don’t worry about competition. In fact, if you see a lot of companies trying to do what you’re trying to do, but none are dominating, it’s a good sign. It shows there’s demand, but no one has figured out how to meet the demand.
- Attack annoying, unsexy, messy problems. There are a lot of companies waiting to be built, but people are either too lazy, or not attracted to solving the problem.
- Just do it. Don’t take a class about doing a startup, just do it. If you fail, you fail, but at least you tried.