First, they most commonly say:
"Solve your own problems. Meaning, live on the edge of tech and see what issues you encounter. Then build a startup to solve it."
I agree, and I love that.
But it's not the whole answer you want. Where do these problems actually come from?
It offers a meaningful benefit, such as:
A big reduction of an intense/frequent frustration
A big reduction in the cost of an expensive problem
A big increase in how entertaining/emotional a thing is
— ideas compelling enough to overcome the friction to try 'em. Btw, some people say startups must be "10x better to succeed." This is misleading.
For an app to be 10x better, than, say, Uber, it would have to straight up teleport you to your destination.
Dropbox/Box: Cheaply share files without coordination or friction
Instacart: Get groceries delivered—without a big cost premium
Uber: Get a cab 3x faster, in 3x more locations, and for cheaper
From the creation of new infrastructure—either technological or legal.
I keep an eye on this. For example:
1. New technologies
Fast mobile processors
2. Changes in the law
Legalization of marijuana
Patents expiring (And 1,000 more infrastructure examples.)
When new technological/legal infrastructure emerges, startups pounce to productize the new 3x possibilities.
Those possibilities fall into categories:
1. Cost reductions:
Cheaper broadband enables cloud storage (Dropbox)
Cheaper batteries enables electric cars (Tesla)
2. Better functionality:
3. Brand new categories:
So takeaway number one is that new infrastructure spawns startups.
For those ideas to survive in the market, I believe you need another criterion:
Cultural acceptance. Society has to be ready for you:
Here are startups that became possible through changes in societal behavior.
1. Pop culture making behaviors less cool:
Cigarettes go out of style, so we get nicotine and vaping
Heavy drinking goes out of style, so we get low-alcohol seltzers
2. Mobile apps making it more normal to trust strangers:
Uber saw that widespread smartphone adoption with accurate GPS data made it possible to replace taxis with gig workers.
Cultural acceptance was needed here—because it was unorthodox to step into a stranger's car and entrust them with your safety.
Here's just one way to find startup ideas.
Step 1: Spot upcoming infrastructure
Step 2: Determine if market entry is now possible
Step 3: Explore second-order ideas too
it typically produces many downstream 2x ideas.
This is a key point.
For example, now that millions use 3x products like Slack, Zoom, and Uber, what tools could make them less expensive, more reliable, more collaborative?
Originally Posted by https://twitter.com/Julian
Compiled into a post by me!