Ideas and Validation January 27, 2020

So I'm not original enough?


I know, catchy title :)

No, seriously, I don't think I'm not original enough at all. I bought this book; and in the tl;dr section for idea it says that I'm not original enough if I don't have original problems. Cute :)

Ok so I think I'm somewhat original, aren't we all. But I'm having trouble finding the original problems that I have faced or still face. Even worse, I am a great problem solver and I usually don't find problems very problematic :D.

So I need your help to find the problems in my life. Has anyone been in the same situation? How did you go about noticing the problems that you face?

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    I see a lot of people here argue that if you try to solve original problems only you have, you won't have a market big enough.

    I think that's a common fallacy though that forgets to consider how many people there are in the world now, and presumes that even if we think we are unique in our surroundings, we're probably not on a national or global level.

    There are 7 billion people in the world. For reference, 1.5 billion people speak English.

    Even if you are a very unique person with an original problem to solve, there's still probably anywhere from 1,000 to 100,000 (or more) people in the world who have the same problem.

    At the lower end that's 1,000 people * $10/mo = $10,000/mo

    If you reach those 1,000 people, it can be a micro tiny niche compared to the population of the world that still pays you $10,000/mo.

    1,000 people / world population * 100% = 0.000014%

    Capturing 0.000014% at $10/mo of the world results in $10,000/mo.

    Micro niche, but great money for an indie maker.

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      I agree with the analogy. But we cant also forget the method of how to reach them. Reaching those 1000 people in the pool of 7 billion people are almost impossible.

      It's like finding your perfect girl friend. There is always one perfect woman out there, but to actually meet her you would be hitting out to the bar every single night for probably the next 5 or even 10 years.

      Maybe the better way to think is to backtrack the situation from figuring out the small group of people (1000-100,000) you could potentially serve AND you can reach out to them.

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      Thank you @levelsio but the biggest challenge is always to reach those first 1,000 people/world population * 100% = 0.000014%.. what key user acquisition channel will you advise among the many to go for? SEO, Social Media or Paid acquisition etc

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        You're in a time where it's never been more do-able to reach specific audiences, think being active on social media, blogging and vlogging around a niche, and paid: Facebook Ads that can target specific audience, and Google for keyword ads around your niche.

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        As someone who has had this same issue, I completely agree

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      LOL you forget 6.5 billion make under 100$ month

    4. 1

      Great advice. I think initially we only need to focus on fixing that problem.

    5. 1

      I agree a hundred percent, I'm actually not at all arguing that. Not afraid to go niche, I don't even want a big thing, not at first at least. I just feel like I solve a thousand problem a day and don't even realise it. Then I read your 12 months challenge and find small projects like the youtube analytics or email player, which is think are awesome and would love to find something of a similar scale, and don't find anything relatable in my life.
      But I don't think it's because I don't have such problems/inconveniences but because I don't recall them.

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    this reminds me of how peter levels (founder of nomadlist) did random nomad stuff living a completely "original" life and that led to him solving the problems he ran into and expanding that into a novel business.

    if you lead an ordinary life, you'll encounter ordinary problems that are likely saturated with solutions. this isn't necessarily a bad thing -- it's just going to be harder to innovate there.

    (from a guy who spent 2 years living in bangkok 😄)

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      My problem though is more about noticing the problems I solve rather than actually finding a problem as I fix problems all the time.

      I think I'm gonna start keeping a notebook with me at all time and just write down all the problems/inconveniences I face as soon as they arise

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    For me it was a problem that I knew deep inside that I wanted to tackle for a long time (mental health) but it just took me a long time to admit it to myself. Maybe there's a problem in your life that you're not being honest with yourself about?

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      Maybe, although I'm only looking for small problems that can be solved with some technical abilities. I am a Full-stack developer.

      I don't really wanna start by solving a huge problem. The kind of problems i'm looking for are of the same kind as the first few on this page

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        "I'm only looking for small problems that can be solved with some technical abilities. I am a Full-stack developer."

        This is exactly what I'm trying to do.

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          How is it going for you?

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            I'm having hard time finding problems to solve, as well. So... kinda stuck.

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              Ah well, good luck to us :) But at the end of the day I don't think that should be the hard part, just need to figure it out.

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                  Looks interesting, do you have any early feedback on it?

  4. 1

    I like this from startup playbook

    "What if you don’t have an idea but want to start a startup? Maybe you shouldn’t. It’s so much better if the idea comes first and the startup is the way to get the idea out into the world.

    We once tried an experiment where we funded a bunch of promising founding teams with no ideas in the hopes they would land on a promising idea after we funded them.

    All of them failed...

    So it’s better not to try too actively to force yourself to come up with startup ideas. Instead, learn about a lot of different things. Practice noticing problems, things that seem inefficient, and major technological shifts. Work on projects you find interesting. Go out of your way to hang around smart, interesting people. At some point, ideas will emerge.

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      Well yeah, what i'm talking about is actually noticing the problems, not trying to come up with one

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    I've been thinking and writing about this quite a bit recently, which is why the following reply contains a number of links to my blog.

    Problem awareness requires you to know what qualities you're looking for. Otherwise, a problem could be staring you in the face but you'd dismiss it as inconsequential.

    I've written an article about Finding the Critical Problem in which I lay out the qualities that I have come to understand are needed for a problem so that people pay money for a solution. As luck would have it, I will release a post called "Finding the Most Painful Problem in a Market" on my blog by Thursday, so that is probably interesting for you as well.

    Once you have internalized what you're looking for, you can look at every single thing you encounter through that lens. Is it painful? Is it non-optional? Is it costly? Is it frequent? If you can say yes to all of these and you can find a significant number of people who share this problem, you have found a niche and a critical problem.

    As Pieter said in his top-level comment, a niche population of 1000 is enough, if you can reach them. And since most niches are tribal in nature, they will congregate in communities and groups. Find those, and you're on your way.

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    Thank you all for your replies

    I think, though, that my problem is not to have the original problems but to notice them. I solve problems all the time. I just never realise I am solving a problem because it's never enough of a struggle for me to notice it.

    I think what I am going to start doing is keep a notebook and write down every single problem/inconvenience that I encounter as soon as I face them as an exercise in ... mindfulness I guess.

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      Challenge yourself to write down 3 problems you’ve seen or experienced everyday. And take each a step further to think about whether there is a market for a solution and where you might find those people, and how you could possibly solve the problem.

      It’s just an exercise to get you thinking about problems. Getting the brain focused so you notice more about what’s going on around you.

      The second thing you can do is think about audience first. What group of people would you like to work with? Then go and research them. Find the communities, read the threads and try to identify recurring issues. Try to have conversations about those issues. You might have a way to solve their problem even though you personally have not experienced it.

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    You might not have big enough market to cover for your original problems. You might be the only person having that. Or you and your cat. Chasing unicorns is hard, and the failure rate is massive. You have to first understand what you want to achieve, and only then go and think about how you are going to do that.

    There are many existing non-original and plain boring problems that are half solved. Nobody ever thought that blind people care how their watch looks like. After all, isn't the whole point for watch to tell you the time, and if you can't see anything then you shouldn't care how it looks on your wrist? Or, pardon me for the intimate problem, how do obese people ensure their ass is clean after defecation? There are solutions for these problems, but not all of them are ideal, and not everyone is happy about them.

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    Have a unique problem,and you got no one else to help but yourself.

    Original and creative are very badly defined terms and they are hard to test or make meaningful...

    What are others around you complaining about that you can help?
    What did you already solve for others?
    What do you do for yourself that other people don't do and/or have a less efficient solution/ way of doing?