I always thought that the hardest part about the whole start up thing was coming up with an original idea. How does one actually think up something new? What’s the inspiration behind really great ideas? Do some people have a knack for it while others are completely clueless? And then I came across Paul Graham’s essay and it all started to make sense…
Paul is one of the people behind YCombinator, a tech startup incubator. His essay on How to Get Startup Ideas is one of the most level-headed perspectives I’ve encountered. I won’t detail everything here, because you really should just read his essay. I will, however, highlight one of my favourite sections; it’s called “Noticing.” You see the secret to having good startup ideas is to train yourself to notice things – or, more accurately, notice when things are missing. Of course, this is easier said than done, but if you develop the necessary habits of mind and have the curiosity to notice the things around you, you might surprise yourself. Generating new ideas is not as magical as you think.
I particularly like this passage from Paul’s essay:
A good way to trick yourself into noticing ideas is to work on projects that seem like they’d be cool. If you do that, you’ll naturally tend to build things that are missing. It wouldn’t seem as interesting to build something that already existed.
That’s what The Startup Library is about. Dare yourself to build something cool.
Image credit: Matti Mattila (cc) Binoculars