…a combination of relentless predator upon the obsolete and benevolent solver of the world’s problems. As ways of making money go, that’s pretty good. Startups are often ruthless competitors, but they’re competing in a game won by making what people want.
This is such a cool way to think about startups. I like the image of the relentless predator – some one on the hunt, looking to obsolete wasteful ways of doing things, saving people tons of money and making a few bucks in the process.
So how are startup ideas born?
1. If you are lucky, you will find a list like this to start with. It can fire your imagination and set you thinking to make your own list or flesh out the ideas a bit more.
2. You can watch out for problems and suddenly a better way solve some of them may pop-up in your head.
3. You can watch trends, think a bit ahead and build a few experimental proto-types and see what happens (You may be taking a bit of a risk with this approach and may end up building a solution looking for a problem).
4. Find the gap in an emerging technology space and fill a tiny bit of it with your solution.
5. Leverage a new technology to do something that has not been done before.
6. Pick some great idea that is successful and radically improve the implementation (make it simpler, easier, faster, more scalable).
7. The best, in my opinion, is to scratch your own itch and find something, for which you are the first user and see whether it has one of the above characteristics (an added bonus).
In our own startups , we have tried a few of these approaches. There may be many more. As Paul Graham says:
Consider this list to end with a giant ellipsis.
Dreaming up ideas can become a (nice) habit, so I keep an idealog. Not every idea is a good one or fit for a startup. But ideas trigger ideas and you never know where they may lead.