I really like what Paul Graham has to say in his How to Get Startup Ideas. I like it because it’s another source that affirms my own notions on how to generate ideas. I was about to question my own judgement of how to come up with startup ideas, thinking I should or needed to sit down and begin a rigid, fruitless, frustrating, brainstorming session.
But I started reading what Graham had to say first, before wasting my time. I’m glad I did. I would have went against my intuition and what I know, to potentially making an error by trying to, as Graham put it, “solve problems no one has.” As soon as I got back to the what’s missing? mind-frame, ideas began to loosen up.
Graham’s comparison of digging a well that’s “narrow and deep” opposed to digging a hole that’s “broad but shallow” is a useful imagery tool when trying to navigate a stream of startup ideas. It helps convey the idea that a good startup typically solves a problem for a smaller group of people who really need your solution instead of a larger group of people who might be interested. This directs the stream of startup ideas towards a more true North.
In the Breaking News piece I liked hearing how the Huffington Post and BuzzFeed have disrupted the market. According to the Breaking News piece, Huffington Post and BuzzFeed are “classic disruptors.” They got in low–aggregating news and producing funny things–and grew into something real and legit, able to compete with legacy news sources but without the big cost. A classic disruption? Yeah, sure. A badass disruption? Definitely.
Lastly, I like the Ikea model. Like, really like it. We can make as many jokes as we’d like about Ikea, but man, do they solve a problem really well. Breaking News frames Ikea’s method with a theory they call: jobs-to-be-done.
Using a Break News example: everything at Ikea focuses on this job-to-be-done: “I’ve got to get this place furnished tomorrow, because I have to show up at work the next day.” To do this, they’ve assembled everything you would reasonably need to get that job done, in one day, while spending your money all at Ikea. They’ve got furniture, dishes, bedding, rugs, storage, appliances, tools, daycare, a restaurant, same-day delivery–all of Sweden. All in one big warehouse for you to get lost with your wallet in. And you’ll go home with everything you need, because they’ve got it figured out. You’ll get on with the aspects of life not pertaining to needing flatware, a wardrobe, a cook-top and six or seven different types of tables–with only one stop. I find this massively impressive and certainly disruptive.