(On 24/10/2017, this article was originally published on my Medium account)
Everyone has ideas, I have dozens that come up from time to time when I see something that reminds me of something else, or when I encounter a (new) problem. I have a Sparkfile where I note down all ideas that come to mind.
Some are stupid, some are huge, but they are all ideas that, eventually, could be useful some time. In my view, ideas are born out of your experiences, your problems, your victories, stuff you see, do, read, watch, listen to, and the companies, startups, people you follow.
How do you get the mindset to decide if an idea is truly interesting and worth chasing? And what do you do next? I came across the reading list below in an Evernote file that I thought was long gone, so I decided to share it! It’s for anyone who wants to find and choose an idea that’s worthy enough to pursue.
A lot of classic (Paul Graham) startup blogposts in here, but they’re still very valuable and true today. Check’m out!
The Spark File — by Steven Johnson
“Writing down your own ideas (how stupid/simple they may be) en re-reading them a few months later let’s you see new connections and create new ideas on top of the ones you’ve already written down. In the end there could be the ultimate concept you want to pursue.”
How to move past the “Everything’s been done” trap and find your next great idea — by Kevin Purdy
“Every social feed flows with evidence of just how clever the world has become, leaving you paralyzed with indecision. In reality, you know you have not actually tried everything–yet you feel it deep in your soul. Here’s how to fix that feeling and move forward with another breakthrough.”
Got an idea for a startup? Ask these questions first — by Ryan Hoover
”Before swinging the bat, be pragmatic, evaluate the field, and recognize your strengths and weaknesses.”
Ideas for startups — by Paul Graham
“Most startups end up nothing like the initial idea. It would be closer to the truth to say the main value of your initial idea is that, in the process of discovering it’s broken, you’ll come up with your real idea.”
Developing new startup ideas — by Chris Dixon
“Be the opposite of secretive. Create a Google spreadsheet where you list every idea you can think, even really half-baked ones. Include ideas you hear about and make sure you keep track of who had which idea so you can credit them/include them later. Then take the spreadsheet and show it to every smart person you can get a meeting with and walk through each idea.”
The Product / Market Fit Cycle — by Carlos E. Espinal
“Having spent time with several companies that have gone through the process of finding product market fit, I have observed that many get hung up on iterating only the ‘product’ part of product / market fit, rather than thinking of ‘product’ in a larger context.”
5 Steps to Validate Your Business Idea in the Real World — by @theomarzenhom
“If you have a business or are thinking about starting one, it’s going to be in the real world. Not in your mind. Your audience and customers are going to be real people. So why are you validating ideas in your head? You need real, hands-on feedback. This feedback helps you make better business decisions.”
Don’t register your idea as a company — by Joel Gascoigne
“From my own experiences and perspectives, I believe that by far the best option in almost all cases is to delay registering a company for as long as possible.”
Startups in 13 Sentences — by Paul Graham
“One of the 13 things I always tell startups is a principle I learned from Paul Buchheit: it’s better to make a few people really happy than to make a lot of people semi-happy.”
How to Start a Startup? — by Paul Graham
“You need three things to create a successful startup: to start with good people, to make something customers actually want, and to spend as little money as possible. Most startups that fail do it because they fail at one of these. A startup that does all three will probably succeed.”
Writing a Business Plan — by @sequoia
“When Brian, Joe and Nate founded Airbnb, they had an air mattress, entrepreneurial passion, and a vision for reinventing travel and hospitality, but no clear idea how to approach VCs or how to craft a pitch deck. They came across Sequoia’s guide for how to write a business plan and the rest is history.”
What are the most common mistakes first-time entrepreneurs make? — on Quora
“Stop drinking your own kool-aid. — If you are not brutally honest with yourself, you can’t make informed decisions that will truly improve your company.”
As first time entrepreneurs, what part of the process are people often completely blind to?— on Quora
“Copying and improving on existing ideas is far easier and sometimes more fun than trying something unique and novel.”
The very first startup founder you need to invest in is you — by Mark Suster
“Investing in yourself is what differentiates founders and early employees of startups.”
Before the startup — by Paul Graham
“Startups are very counterintuitive. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s just because knowledge about them hasn’t permeated our culture yet. But whatever the reason, starting a startup is a task where you can’t always trust your instincts.”
I was excited about an idea, and now it’s dead— by Patric Schmid
“There are lots of stories about entrepreneurs validating their ideas and going on to launch successful companies. But what about the ideas that don’t pan out?”
That's my list! What's on yours?