The Best Way To Generate Good Startup Ideas

January 26, 2006

In my opinion, the best way to generate viable ideas for a startup – is to have a startup.  Though this sounds like a recursive statement, it seems to occur in other areas as well.




  • The easiest way to find a job is when you already have one.
  • You are more likely to get a loan from the bank, when you don’t need one.


In startup world, I found in my past experience that’s almost impossible to come up with a good, feasible idea that will stand the harsh light of reality and scrutiny shone upon it.  I personally have never come up with a new startup idea that amounted to anything, and that others got excited about – except (and this is the important part), when I already had a company.  


Your probability of having a good startup idea (defined as one where you’ll eventually make money) goes up proportionally to the age of your company (though there is obviously an upper limit to this, as you grow and stabilize).   Net result:  You’re better off starting something, putting yourself in the game, and then filtering new ideas, adjusting your existing ones and doing something about it.


The reason for this particular phenomenon is quite simple.  The time it takes to get objective feedback on a new idea is much longer when you are doing it “externally” (from the outside, looking in).  You have no customers to talk to (and not even potential customers), your ideas will tend to be very extreme (instead of “adjustments” to prior ideas).  Also, it seems that the quality of feedback you get as a startup entrepreneur (that already has a company) is much higher than what you get as a “would be” startup entrepreneur.  Yes, this is paradoxical, but its true.


Moral of the story:  If you’ve got a decent idea, and a burning passion to start a company – go do it.  The idea you ultimately run with won’t be the idea you have now anyways, so might as well get started now.  If you’re bootstrapping it (which is mandatory in most cases), then time is working on your side so the sooner you start the better.

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