Paul Graham on why startup ideas that initially look like toys are the most likely to succeed (Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Chatroulette) –
If you want to start a startup and don’t know yet what you’re going to do, I’d encourage you to focus initially on organic ideas. What’s missing or broken in your daily life? Sometimes if you just ask that question you’ll get immediate answers.
You may need to stand outside yourself a bit to see brokenness, because you tend to get used to it and take it for granted… The reason you’re overlooking them is the same reason you’d have overlooked the idea of building Facebook in 2004: organic startup ideas usually don’t seem like startup ideas at first.
So… I’d encourage you to focus more on the idea part and less on the startup part. Just fix things that seem broken, regardless of whether it seems like the problem is important enough to build a company on. If you keep pursuing such threads it would be hard not to end up making something of value to a lot of people, and when you do, surprise, you’ve got a company.
Don’t be discouraged if what you produce initially is something other people dismiss as a toy. In fact, that’s a good sign. That’s probably why everyone else has been overlooking the idea.
So, ask yourself what problem do you really want to solve. Or, ask yourself. what toy would you like to play with. Then, solve that problem, or build that toy.As for me, I’m already too old to play with toys, so, I’ll have to stick to the problems.
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