Episode 138 | More Tips for Identifying Startup Ideas
- Quora Thread: What are the best ways to think of ideas for a startup?
- Paul Graham: Startup Ideas
- Jason Cohen
- Joel Spolsky: Platform Vendors
- Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur
[00:00] Rob: In this episode of Startups for the Rest of Us, Mike and I are going to be talking about more tips for identifying startup ideas. This is Startups for the Rest of Us: Episode 138.
[00:16] Rob: Welcome to Startups for the Rest of Us, the podcast that helps developers, designers and entrepreneurs be awesome at launching software products, whether you’ve built your first product or you’re just thinking about it. I’m Rob.
[00:26] Mike: And I’m Mike.
[00:26] Rob: And we’re here to share our experiences to help you avoid the same mistakes we’ve made. What’s the word this week, Mike?
[00:30] Mike: I have spent more time in airports and traveling this past week than I have actually working.
[00:37] Rob: [Laughter] Really? What – have you – had delays or cancelled flights?
[00:40] Mike: Both. Last week I was supposed to take off from San Antonio. I ended up trying to fly out in the morning. So, I got to the airport. I got up it was like 5 o’clock in the morning to get there and I get there and my flight had been cancelled. I was so ticked.
[00:54] Rob: That’s brutal. So, did you just waited for one later in the day?
[00:57] Mike: They put me on a later flight and then my connection was delayed. Then they had like mechanical problems, then on my way down here this week, I have more mechanical problems. And then they had a flight attendant who couldn’t make the flight and they had to find somebody else. So, it’s just like…like I said I’ve spent probably 45, 50 hours on travel [Laughter] over the –
[01:15] Rob: Wow.
[01:15] Mike: …past week.
[01:16] Rob: Yeah, that’s –
[01:17] Mike: It’s ridiculous.
[01:17] Rob: That’s – ugh, feels like such a waste of time too.
[01:20] Mike: It is, it’s totally a waste –
[01:21] Rob: We –
[01:21] Mike: …of time. The delays I’ve been encountering recently had been mostly weather-related. There’s been a few mechanical problems. You know, they got to wait for the weather to clear or they got to go around it or –
[01:31] Rob: Hey, so I’m back home after I was on the coast of California around Pismo Beach, Shell Beach area for ten days. I was out there with my 6-year old. That’s also the reason that the quality wasn’t so great last week is the WiFi. No matter where I went, no matter how good the WiFi tested on speed test, there were something wrong with it. I was in a café, the WiFi was screaming fast and then there were so much background noise that it was…it was literally going to be a huge distraction on the podcast. So, I switched to another café and the WiFi was terrible.
[01:59] So, I drove back to the apartment that we stay at and the WiFi went down. At that point normally it would be fast enough but it went down. The owners went there to reboot the router. So, I had a MiFi 4G LTE router that was clocking it like 11 megs down and 5 or 6 up which is ample, ample, should be ample to record over Skype and yet, it just wasn’t working. Yeah, that was the final quality that you did here with all the breakups, you know, if you’ve heard how crappy Mike’s — the buffering and all of his voice quality was, that was recording on that. So, it feels good to be home to a connection that works and that is solid.
[02:35] Mike: Yeah, that’s what we refer to as gremlins in the machine when just when you’re trying to get something done like the whole thing just falls over on itself [Laughter].
[02:42] Rob: Right and I had spent a lot of time thinking about. I recorded two different podcasts last week and I was scoped out – I mean I went to all these coffee shops and scoped out the speed test, you know, “Oh, no problem. This one is fine.” And then I had backup options and yet, they just all seem to fall through.
[02:56] So, I’m not sure if the 4G MiFi if it was its fault or if it’s still, you know, you’re on a hotel connection, it’s the combination of the two things but I’d be interested to try it again at some point because it just feels like the 4G MiFi should be able to handle it. But of course, it really didn’t.
[03:12] Mike: I mean you might also think that it’d be the latency between that machine and the router on the internet or you know, with Skype and everything and that didn’t seemed to be a problem either for either you or me. So, I don’t know really what the issue is. Like I said, you know, just gremlins or ghosts in the machine.
[03:27] Rob: Right, right. And so, an update on stuff I’ve been working on recently. You know, at the beginning of the year I said I wanted to launch three video courses this year and I just launched my first one today, finally, that How to Hire a VA for Your Startup Training Course launched to my e-mail list. And so, it’s just in early access right now so to speak. Surely, I’ll have a public URL here in the next week or two that I will announce on the podcast. It feels good to get that out. We filmed it late last year and had all the editing done by January and then I’ve just haven’t had the bandwidth basically to get it all up and get all the resources up there and had to record some companion screencast and then the – you know, draft the e-mails. And it’s just – it’s always more work than I think it’s going to be to get the product out the door you think “I’ll just use an e-mail template I already have,” but you really want it to be good and you really want to customize it when you’re e-mailing people about it. So, I’ve spent several hours last week and drafted it up and you know, kind of in the middle of launching it. Just feels good to have it out there.
[04:19] Then the last thing is with Drip after a couple of rocky weeks, customer number one, a new customer number one with a pretty simple use case is getting set up as we speak. And so, that’s the other kind of victory for the week. But hopefully by, you know, next podcast recording I should have some news about customer number one. I’m potentially working on a customer number two. There’s definitely – I have a list of people to get going. It’s just all about, you know, picking ones that can use the app based on the features it has right now.
[04:46] Mike: Very cool.
[04:51] Mike: So, today we’re going to be talking about more tips for identifying startup ideas and I – should it really be the problems you’re thinking about trying to solve because an idea, you can sit there and have all the ideas in the world but then when you sit down and you build something unless you’re actually solving a problem, it’s very difficult to get people to pay for that solution of the problem because they would never had it to begin with. I mean we get a lot of e-mail from people saying, “Hey, I built this products. How do I market it? How do I sell it?” And it’s like, “Well, who were you talking to in order to…to find out if they were interested in paying for it to begin with?”
[05:19] And if the answer is nobody, then you’ve got an immediate problem that you’ve got to deal with. So, at that point, it’s not just the marketing problem, it’s trying to find out whether people even want what you built because even though you may value the time and effort that you’ve put in to it, other people don’t necessarily value it.
[05:35] Rob: I think my advice would be at this point after going through the stuff for years with different entrepreneurs is that if you have an idea that doesn’t solve a problem that people know they have or if you are such a forward thinker that, you know, you want to innovate, you want to be a Steve Jobs or an Ev Williams and come up with things that are just ahead of the curve, then you need to go raise funding because that’s what those people do, right? You need millions if not, tens of millions of dollars to make it that long .
[06:00] I mean if you look at what Ev Williams did with Blogger and with Twitter and what did Steve Jobs did with Apple and NeXT and Pixar like they needed enormous sums of money and they were a visionary you’er right, but they had to outlast all the years of not having revenue essentially. And so, if you are going to go the bootstrap route which is what we talk about, then you absolutely need to start with problems, not ideas.
[06:22] Mike: So, the idea for this episode came from a Quora thread that was all about trying to find and identify ideas for startups and we’ll link to that in the show notes. The three things that kind of factor in to this are luck or spontaneousness and that’s – if you’re trying to sit around and just think of ideas and an idea comes to you or you’re not even trying to think about ideas and then you just think of a startup idea, that’s where the luck or spontaneousness comes in to it.
[06:46] The second one is insider knowledge. So, if you’ve worked in an industry or you know somebody who does, that’s what is considered insider knowledge. And then the third one is just doing research and trying to figure out different problems that people are having, talking to people and generating the ideas for problems to solve from there in a way that you address those ideas, you look at them and trying to figure out which ones will and will not be profitable and then choose the path that you want to go down.
[07:11] Rob: Yeah, so these might sound familiar, you know, these are all related to what we talked about in episode 128 which is where we analyzed Paul Graham’s essay on finding startup ideas. While these aren’t direct repeats, they definitely tie in and you’ll notice that as you research finding startup ideas, you will start to see some repetition and that’s a good thing, right? It means that there are repeatable ways and there are some best practices or at least some good ways that people do come up with multiple startup ideas.
[07:35] Now, there’s always a way like Mike said to be spontaneous or to get lucky but since it’s not a reliable method, it’s not something that I like to teach, right? It’s not something that you want to tell people to do because you are – that’s kind of the other, you have it or you don’t. You’re either Steve Jobs and Ev Williams or you’re not. We’re going to try to keep this to repeatable things that most people can do.
[07:57] Mike: I think the other part that kind of goes in to luck is that you have to think about the ideas that you’re trying to come up with and come up as many as you possibly can so that you do have good selection to choose from because when you’re out in the dating world or you know, you don’t marry the first person that you meet. I mean most people don’t but – and sometimes there are people who that it works out for. But for the vast majority of people that just — it’s not going to work out. So, why would you run the first startup idea you have? Definitely takes some time to look around, try and figure out which ideas are viable and which ones are not and from there, that’s where you’re making your choices. And that applies not just to the luck factor but also insider knowledge and then researching.
[08:34] So, let’s talk about the insider knowledge piece. One of the things that you can do to tap in to problems that, you know, you would have the access to as part of the insider knowledge is not only looking at the businesses that you’ve been involved in but tapping in to your network of people. So, whether you’re using Facebook or LinkedIn, reach out to the people that you know and ask them the types of problems that they’re facing because that’s a really good way to try and figure out what sorts of businesses are having those problems.
[09:02] And we’ve talked about B2B versus B2C in the past and what you’re really trying to focus on is what problems are [Audio Glitch] having it work. You don’t want to ask what problems that people are having in general because you’ll get this gamut of things that is not really going to help you very much. Ask them specifically for what types of problems they’re having at work. And this may not be something that you just want to blast out or you may want to ask some very specific people especially people who tend to be up in the management level who are – or actively thinking about these things and looking for solutions to the types of problems that they encounter at work.
[09:34] Rob: So, when it said – the insider knowledge in this Quora thread I thought it actually meant you’re – that you have the insider knowledge and that the research piece was you contacting people.
[09:44] Mike: I’ve kind of looked at that and said – that’s only one side of it. I don’t think that it’s – I don’t think it’s the whole picture. I think that there’s…there’s two sides of it. One, you can look at just the problems that you’ve had the access to but you know, I’ve done a lot of consulting over the years and one of the things that I’ve run in to and find is that I tend to know about a lot of different environments whereas most companies I’d go and do consulting work for, I’ll walk in there and they’ll say, “Well, this is how we do things.” And I’ll say, “Well, have you thought about doing this way or that way or et cetera?” And they just have no idea.
[10:14] So, for me to go in and be able to recognize that this is one way that they’ve done it and there are fifty other ways of doing it and they look at that same exact problem, they only have one or two ways in their head. So, it’s a different mentality of being able to – of searching out in to your network of people that you know and asking them for advice because obviously, there’s piece of your experience but then there’s also the network or people that you have. And I just feel like it’s a lot more valuable for you to tap in to that network than to just solely rely on your own experience.
[10:47] Rob: Yeah, I think…I think there are two sides to it. We’ve talked a little bit about it in the past for sure but I think one – a big factor in the success of your product or one factor is if…if you are customer zero. I think it can be a big benefit because you do know what to build and you do know how you wanted to work and you do know the problem that you’re trying to solve. The other side of that coin is like you said, you can feasibly then solve it to narrow, right, to narrow a problem or build to narrow a solution because you’re only solving your problem. If you don’t listen to any external feedback, then that’s when you can get in trouble and build something that no one except for yourself wants.
[11:24] And I mean you and I both seen founders who they build an app and they say, “Well, I’m going to use it anyway, so I’m going to go ahead and build it and then I’ll see if there’s a market for it.” And that’s okay if you truly do mean that and that the 400 hours you’re going to spend building a simple project management app or something, if it’s truly justified and you really are okay with that, then…then so be it. But what I typically find is that they build it and then they – it’s so much maintenance headache and it’s so much ongoing, you know, anytime they need new feature, they need to build it that they wind up switching to Basecamp later anyways because it’s easier and they don’t have to maintain hosting and all that stuff.
[11:56] I guess what I’m saying is there’s an easy trap to fall in to if thinking that being customer zero or eating your own dog food or solving your own pain point like people say is not necessarily the golden ticket, right? It’s one factor but it can also be kind of a trap. So, I guess the insider knowledge is vital and it’s absolutely a way to increase the chance that you will succeed but it’s also something that you need to watch out for as you’re searching for ideas and especially as you’re building them out more importantly.
[12:24] I’ve been dealing with this with Drip because I had an original idea and I vetted it with, you know, a dozen people and then we got months down the line. And I realized that, you know, I built something that I really wanted, do these people still want it and that’s where I had to send out a big e-mail survey and I validated that assumption. But there was a point when I sent that e-mail when I thought wow, it could come back and they could say, “You know what? You basically screwed up and you solve your own problem.” And it wouldn’t have been to scrap the app but it would have been, okay, we need to spend two to four weeks here and build a bunch of features to make up for the lack of direction that we’ve had. Luckily, it didn’t turn out that way but I can see how insider knowledge can easily kind of blind you and make you overconfident in your idea to build something that people want.
[13:05] Mike: Yeah, I completely agree with that being a trap that you could fall in to where you’re building something that is for you and that you turn around and resell it to other people. I mean I think that that’s…that’s part of the – I’ll say the issue I have with a lot of people who have looked at what 37signals has done and it worked out great for them but it’s not to say that it’s going to work out great for everybody because there’s lots of people out there who build something to scratch their own itch. And it just never goes anywhere because it’s just so narrow and they don’t want to genericize it. They want to solve their own problem.
[13:36] So, it’s definitely something to look out for and that’s part of why I kind of brought in this idea of tapping in to your network because if you’re actively looking for somebody who has that problem and you’re working with them to solve their problem, one of the things that you want to do is make sure that you’ve got more than one person lined up who has the same problem. And that’s how you would kind of gauge which types of problems you’re going to go out and try and solve. You’re not going to solve a problem that only has one person who says, “Yeah, I’ll pay for solution to this,” when you have a second idea where there’s like 10 or 20 or 30 people who say, “Hey, I have that exact same problem or something very similar and I’d like to pay for it as well.”
[14:10] Rob: Right and I think instead of having one person who has that same problem, my rule of thumb these days is I want to find ten people who not only have the problem but are willing to pay the price that I name upfront. And that’s kind of my rule of thumb. I think Jason Cohen did 30 before he — you know, he found 30 people before he did WP Engine. I think the number is somewhere between 10 and 30 is my guess and it depends on how much time you want to spend, how much confidence you have in the idea, how much risk you’re willing to take on and how much time you’re willing to invest upfront before you start writing code.
[14:37] Mike: Yeah, I’ve talked to Jason Cohen about that at one point and he said that one of the things that he did was you just keep asking the questions or he kind of felt that if you keep asking people the question about whether or not they have that problem when you start hearing the same responses over and over again and you’re not really learning anything, then that’s about the time to stop and then you go back and you start listing out the exact features that you’re going to build for your minimum viable product and move forward with that.
[15:04] So, we’ve talked a lot about the insider knowledge piece of it and now, let’s talk about researching. And one of the big issues with doing research to find a product idea is that it takes work. There’s just no way around it. If you can’t come up with problems that you’re interested in solving from your friends or from yourself, then you need to look for people that you don’t know. One of the ways that I think would be a really good way to find problems that need to be solved is to troll customer forums for any large company. You’re going to find that in those forums, there are a lot of people who were making complaints to the company about different things that are not working or that things should be different in the product, these are things that you can kind of leverage as ideas.
[15:41] But one of the things that you have to be careful about is that you’re not going to build a piece of functionality for that product that the company is then going to come in and implement themselves that’s going to put you out of business. What you really looking for is an add-on product or plugin or something along those lines that you’re going to be able to leverage from that customer base such that it’s going to help and assist those customers and it’s going to be such a small piece of revenue that that company is not going to go ahead and implement it out from under you and kill your business.
[16:12] Rob: First of all, I like the idea of lurking on large company customer forums because you’re…you’re going to see all the complaints and a lot of things that need to be fixed. I think the point you raised about building just an add-on is a really good idea. I’ve been thinking about this concept and I heard it on a podcast and someone said, “Are you building a feature or are you building a product or are you building a business?” And especially if you’re early on in your career and you’re trying to get that early win under your belt, that first app that takes hold and makes you some money and allows you to quit your job or at least gets you part of the way there, I think you need to think about features rather than building products or businesses because they’re faster to get out of the gate, they are more easy to be acquired. If you build an add-on to another system and it takes off and does well, then that system is much more likely to buy you.
[16:58] So, if you built something great that hooked in to MailChimp or that hooked in the Basecamp or that hooked in to, you know, Norton Antivirus or anything that needed an add-on, it could be a real benefit to you. And so, I think in the early days, I think features — in the old days, I had kind of a negative thought about this like, “Oh, if you only build the feature, then the main app is they’re just going to build it and put you out of business.” But I don’t believe that anymore like it’s pretty rare that a large company is going to move fast enough to put a little guy like you out of business especially, let’s say you build a little WordPress plugin or a tie in the Basecamp and it’s making you a thousand bucks a month or 3,000 bucks a month, the odds of them implementing that are actually pretty small.
[17:37] And if you do have success and you’re doing a good job supporting it, you’re either going to build a relationship with them to where they’re not going to want to put you out of your business or where they’re going to be more likely to acquire you and then build it themselves. Give that more thought and then once you’ve built some smaller plugins that you’re kind of stair stepping your way up like we’ve talked about, that’s when you can think about building more full-pledged products. That’s when you – you know, you do start bringing other people in to the mix because that’s just requires a lot more development, a lot more support and a lot more things than you can do on your own.
[18:06] Mike: Yeah, I was thinking back to Joel Spolky’s blog entry on platform vendors and they’re talking about the copy paste feature that wasn’t on the iPhone and how there were…there was kind of a rush of people who are trying to create all these different apps that will allow you to basically hack your way in to creating some sort of a copy paste feature in iOS. So, there’s a bunch of these things that came out and then the Apple came out and implemented copy paste. And none of those products probably ever sold again.
[18:34] That’s what I was thinking about when I was talking about trying to make sure that you’re not doing things that that vendor is going to come in because if you are building an add – a true add-on for that product, then they really are the platform that you’re building for. So, you have to just be aware of what sort of repercussions could come down the road from them.
[18:51] Rob: That’s true and that is a counter example to what I’ve just said actually, I was saying that, you know, you would have some success and they would acquire you. And obviously, Apple didn’t in those cases. So, it can happen. I know Twitter has done the same but I think more often than not, it’s unlikely to happen especially if you’re not playing in those waters in particular. If you’re playing with a little smaller player or a player who’s maybe more aware of their ecosystem and cares more for it like some of the, you know, Basecamp and MailChimp and those guys, I think they’re just a lot less likely to do something so drastic.
[19:21] Mike: Oh, I agree. So, another thing that you can do in terms of research is do some consulting work for a while. Well, I have a hard time advising people in many cases to switch over and do consulting but the reality is that if you’re doing consulting work, large companies always have problems that need to be solved. And most are willing to pay for solutions to those problems and working as a consultant for a lot of different companies, you get to see a lot of different problems. You get to see a lot of different situations where people are having problems with things. There is a huge, huge number of people who have just a wide array of skills and not everybody is going to be able to do every job and not everybody is going to be able to use the different pieces of software that are out there.
[20:01] So, you can take a look at the software that they’re using today and say, “Well, what do you like about it? What do you not like about it?” And I’ll give you a prime example, one that I’ve seen at many large companies is Service Desk Software. If you’re working with these companies where they have a ticketing system of any kind in their IT Department, every single one of them will tell you that they hate it and they’re more than happy to tell you all the things that they hate about it. But if you look on the market for Help Desk Software for that is geared for large enterprises, there are tons of options out there. They are configurable to the end of the world.
[20:33] So, that’s not an area that I would advice going in and just trying to build but at the same time, that’s just one example of all the different types of things that people are more than willing to tell you about. They’ll tell you that they don’t like their ticketing system. They’ll tell you that they don’t like, you know, their asset tracking system. They’ll tell you that they don’t like their software deployment system. And if you just start asking questions about, “Well, why don’t you like this? What doesn’t work for you? What does work? How does the vendor treat you,” you get to get a feel for how the competition acts, how they build features, what their release schedules are and you can gain a lot of that insider knowledge that you’re going to need to beat them in your marketing collateral.
[21:11] Rob: I think that’s an interesting example you bring up about Help Desk Software. Something just popped in to my head and it’s that you need to pick a niche that’s small enough that you are going to be one of the best marketers in that niche but the niche has to be large enough that you can gain enough revenue to make it worth your while. And so, if you are an experienced marketer and or you have a lot of money at your back and or you have the insider knowledge, you know, you have all those…those founder qualities, what do we call it, the founder test? If you have a lot of those in your favor, then you can pick a larger more competitive niche. If you have experience in starting these businesses and get them going, then that’s where you dive in.
[21:48] I do think that, you know, a knowledgeable experienced founder with the wind at their back could do some damage in the…the Help Desk Software space. But if you’re a first time entrepreneur and you don’t have the wind at your back, you don’t have the money, you don’t have the insider knowledge and you are just trying to get your feet wet with this, then diving in to the general Help Desk space, you’re – you’re probably going to get creamed. And what you want to do is instead niche it way down and maybe just build a WordPress plugin that duplicates some Help Desk functionality or build just a single add-on to an existing Help Desk functionality and just get out there and learn the marketing and learn what it takes to get an app out the door.
[22:26] And then as you’re marketing prowess grows and as maybe your bankroll grows and there’s all those founder test attributes grow, that’s when you can dive in to the larger and larges niches. You can’t just look at the successful founders that we all look at, you know, Peldi, Patrick McKenzie, Jason Cohen and say, “Wow. Well, he does it, then I’m going to do it,” because you don’t have the experience that they do and you don’t have the money and you don’t have the contacts. You don’t have these other things that play in to their favor.
[22:50] So, that’s where you do it. You have to start small I believe. You know, if you really want to be in the Help Desk space thing, you just niche it down to the point where you are one of the best, if not, you know, the best marketer in that small space and then you work up from there. And at the same time, you do want to make sure that that niche is large enough that it’s worth your time to build it.
[23:08] Mike: Well, another thing that you can do in terms of researching is ask the company that you work for what they’re spending money on every month. The accountants maybe a little bit tight-lipped about this but you can ask them in a general sense because they’re not going to come out and say, “Well, here’s our payroll information.” But if you work in a large enough company and I tend to think of like some small to midsize companies anywhere from, you know, 20 to 70 or 80 people, if you work in a company that size, you can generally get on a first name basis with whoever is running the books. And you can ask them say, “You know, what are we spending money on every month that could possibly be done a little bit better? What amounts of money are we spending on different things?”
[23:43] And if you can get in to those types of conversations and ask them those questions and you obviously have to tell them why you’re asking but, you know, you’re looking for problems to solve. You’re looking for ways to save them money. And if you phrase it like that to them, they may very well be willing to share that information with you and you can find some interesting things like you might find, “Oh, well, we’re spending 500 to a thousand dollars a month on Help Desk Software that we’re leasing.” And as I said before there are lots and lots of Help Desk companies out there and that’s just one example but there’s all these other things that the business has as problems that you could look at and based on what you’re currently spending money on, you could use those as a list to figure out what sorts of things that you might want to build because if your company is paying a significant amount of money for it, chances are really good that other companies are as well.
[24:30] Rob: So, you’re basically saying look where the companies are already spending money and try to get between them and that – and the money they’re spending.
[24:37] Mike: Yup, that’s exactly right.
[24:38] Rob: Cool.
[24:39] Mike: Some general guidelines that you might want to keep in mind are when you’re looking for problems to solve, make sure that you find that problem space interesting. The last thing you want to do is go in to a space where it is the most boring thing on the planet to you because you’re probably going to lose motivation for going after it. Even if there’s a lot of money there, it can be very demotivational to have to work on something that you just do not have a feel for and you have no interest in working with.
[25:03] Another thing that you need to do is make sure that you keep in mind that if you’re going against the gorilla in a space, make sure you choose a very narrow niche in that – inside of that market. You don’t want to go after like the…the enterprise Help Desk market because that’s going to be too much for you to try and go after. But what you could do is you could say, “Well, I’m going to build Help Desk applications for the metal manufacturing space.” Maybe that’s something that would yield it in appropriate level of customers in that area that would allow you to put together a business.
[25:34] Rob: I would also add that I would much prefer to go against a gorilla, you know, and niche it down than to go against another startup or another single founder because they are way more dangerous. They are more agile and they’re going to care much more about you trying to do your several thousand dollar a month business than some 10 million, hundred million dollar company as they’re not even going to notice you until it’s – well, not until it’s too late for them but until you basically had enough success that you can then move on.
[26:03] Mike: And the last tip as always is to talk to customers before you write any code.
[26:06] Rob: Yeah, I think I’d add one more here, it’s to keep a notebook so that you remember the ideas and not only ideas. So, I’ve started instead of just writing ideas down, now what I do is I’ll write the idea itself and then I’ll say, “Problem:” and I’ll write down what problem does it solve and then I’ll say, “Audience.” Or for whom, you know, whom does it solve and having those three factors in place when I think about it so that I can refer back to that in the future is helpful.
[26:29] And I think I bring it up everytime we talk about startup ideas but this act of writing them down and keeping them for the long term, it’s definitely been very helpful for me not only in taking ideas and launching them and moving forward but just in sparking even offshoots and you know, all kinds of stuff. It just unleashes creativity that you didn’t realize that you had and that you will quickly forget and having them written down and be able to reflect on them again later is more benefit than I think I can communicate.
[26:57] Mike: You know, what you were just telling me reminded me of the book of Business Model Generation, a handbook for visionaries, game changers and challengers which kind of walks through deciding whether or not you have a business based on a variety of different factors and you know, some of the things that you just called out there in terms of…of audience and how you would reach them and what the problem is. A lot of that stuff is covered in that book. So, we’ll link to that in the show note because it’s definitely interesting to read for people who are still looking for ideas.
[27:24] Rob: So, to recap there are – we gave three tips today for identifying startup ideas. The first was luck or spontaneity. The second one was the insider knowledge and the third was researching your niche.
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