A crowded market is actually a good sign because it means both that there's demand and that none of the existing solutions is good enough. A startup can't hope to enter a market that's obviously big and yet in which they have no competitors.
So any startup that succeeds is either going to be entering a market with existing competitors, but armed with some secret weapon that will get them all the users (like Google), or entering a market that looks small but which will turn out to be big (like Microsoft).
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When you have an idea for a startup, ask yourself: who wants this right now? Who wants this so much that they'll use it even when it's a crappy version one made by a two-person startup they've never heard of? If you can't answer that, the idea is probably bad.
You don't need the narrowness....
When a startup launches, there have to be at least some users who really need what they're making — not just people who could see themselves using it one day, but who want it urgently.
You have to compromise on one dimension: you can either build something a large number of people want a sm...
Once you're living in the future in some respect, the way to notice startup ideas is to look for things that seem to be missing. If you're really at the leading edge of a rapidly changing field, there will be things that are obviously missing.
What won't be obvious is that they're startup i...
Pay particular attention to things that chafe you. The advantage of taking the status quo for granted is not just that it makes life (locally) more efficient, but also that it makes life more tolerable.
If you knew about all the things we'll get in the next 50 years but don't have yet, you'...
Because a good idea should seem obvious, when you have one you'll tend to feel that you're late. Don't let that deter you. Worrying that you're late is one of the signs of a good idea. Ten minutes of searching the web will usually settle the question.
Even if you find someone else working o...
Thousands of programmers were in a position to see this idea of having a smooth and seamless process to make a payment; thousands of programmers knew how painful it was to process payments before Stripe. But when they looked for startup ideas they didn't see this one, because unconsciousl...
When you find the right sort of problem, you should probably be able to describe it as obvious, at least to you.
This means, strangely enough, that coming up with startup ideas is a question of seeing the obvious. That suggests how weird this process is: you're trying to see things...
Why is it so important to work on a problem you have? Among other things, it ensures the problem really exists. It sounds obvious to say you should only work on problems that exist. And yet by far, the most common mistake startups make is to solve problems no one has.
Why do so many founder...
How do you tell whether there's a path out of an idea? How do you tell whether something is the germ of a giant company or just a niche product? Often you can't.
How do you choose between ideas? The truth is disappointing but interesting: if you're the right sort of person, you have the rig...
You may have expected recipes for coming up with startup ideas, and instead I'm telling you that the key is to have a mind that's prepared in the right way. But disappointing though it may be, this is the truth. And it is a recipe of a sort, just one that in the worst case takes a year rather tha...
The verb you want to be using with respect to startup ideas is not "think up" but "notice."
We can call ideas that grow naturally out of the founders' own experiences "organic" startup ideas. The most successful startups almost all begin this way.
That may not have been what you wante...
The clash of domains is a particularly fruitful source of ideas. If you know a lot about programming and you start learning about some other field, you'll probably see problems that software could solve. In fact, you're doubly likely to find good problems in another domain:
(a) The inhabita...
You want to know how to paint a perfect painting? It's easy. Make yourself perfect and then just paint naturally.
The way to have good startup ideas is to become the sort of person who has them.
Entrepreneurship" is something you learn best by doing it.
The examples of the most successful founders make that clear. What you should be spending your time on in college is ratcheting yourself into the future. College is an incomparable opportunity to do that. What a waste to sacrifice a...
One of the biggest dangers of not using the organic method is the example of the organic method. Organic ideas feel like inspirations. There are a lot of stories about successful startups that began when the founders had what seemed a crazy idea but "just knew" it was promising.
When you f...
The way to get startup ideas is not to try to think of startup ideas. It's to look for problems, preferably problems you have yourself.
The very best startup ideas tend to have three things in common: they're something the founders themselves want, that they themselves can build and that fe...
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