Like a lot of developers, I'm always trying to come up with ideas for new projects. But of course there are times where coming up with good ideas can be a challenge. What are your tips for coming up with ideas for a new app/project?
I run a problem validation platform needgap where people post their problems for startups to solve. Perhaps you might find something which resonates with you.
There are several products being created now for some of those need gaps.
Assuming app/project = startup, Paul Graham has an essay about this and i find it very good: http://paulgraham.com/startupideas.html
This is coming from the developer,
Take any product which I think is good and feel has the capability to do better. Copy it and just work on only one feature which I like.
Then ship it and talk to customers and figure out what exactly they want ( that is big in no + different from copied product).
Thats how we are building the https://www.hiretheverified.com/. Working as the IT agency we figure out we need freelancers on the go or passively have the awesome freelancers list that we can talk to any time.
Hey man, just wanted to say that you're website has tiny mistakes - 'Xamrian Development'. Your website did load very quickly - what is the tech stack if you don't mind me asking?
From my experience, thinking of an idea for the sake of thinking of an idea usually doesn't end well.
You tend to end up building things that nobody needs; it's invention for invention's sake.
Usually business ideas that work usually come from 3 sources:
You have a specific need/pain that you know you can solve with software, and, when you talk to others, you realize others have it too (this is crucial).
Or you somehow have a moment of inspiration when you saw someone struggling with something, and you think to yourself, "Wait wait wait, I can automate this."
Or someone came to you asking you to build something to solve a problem they have, e.g. a freelance client, an existing user of a struggling product, etc.
Personally, the first point is how I came up with the idea for Zlappo.
I realized I was spending so much time manually retweeting my old tweets to my followers, because I wanted to showcase my greatest hits and evergreen content regularly.
Then I realized, you know what? I could just write an app that would identify my highest-engaging tweets, put them into a repository, and then randomly auto-retweet from that repo on a regular basis in the background using a cronjob, thus solving this issue for me once and for all.
This eventually evolved into our Evergreen List feature.
So basically my point is that it has to be something organic that arises out of a need that either you or someone else has.
The moment itself has to seem epiphanic even.
It's like you have a sudden flash of inspiration, and you can't wait to fire up your IDE to start building it right away.
That's when you know you have the right idea worth pursuing.
One of the best tips I've read was to login to fiverr, and see if you can make an app to automate any of the top 10 things that people have been paying money for. Other trick is to have a bunch of themes (ex: music/literature etc) in a index card, and randomly pick one of them and see if you can make something better in that field.
What is the aim/goal of those projects/apps?
(For instance in my opinion there are different approaches for fast-cash projects, self educational sideprojects, all-in startups or protfolio stuff. )
Be passionate about something enough that you naturally find problems you want to fix. It’ll be even better if you’re involved in a community around that passion so you have users to test your ideas against.
Many useful comments here.
A few cents from me: pondering ideas doesn't work as you get an idea, but do you solve a real problem? Try to think what frustrations do you have. Can you solve some of your pains better than software X?
You can check out the Startup ideas community for the inspiration.
Another approach could be to dive into some niche and figure out what its most painful problems. E.g. pick a niche, talk with a lot of people working there, maybe work there, you need a lot of input.
As for me, it's better to solve your own pains as you're at least is a potential customer. It's better to figure out what do you need than endeavoring to fathom what other people and businesses want, what they feel, will they pay, etc.
An idea is something that should pop up organically, you should not create it. The best way to come up with a product is using a traditional method.
Example: Let's assume you've good experience in HR and have a deep understanding on the same. Then you should start interviewing HR managers from various companies in your industry. Do not tell them about your idea or product ask for feedback, instead just ask them what are the problems they faced and when? Spend around 10-15 minutes with each and you will get enough insights to come up with an idea that will solve a problem which is existing in reality.
Someone passed on this tip to me some years back:
It's a convenient way to record those "What if..." moments as you encounter them each day.
I have been an engineer for most part of life. I was told what to make to make most of the time.
Sometimes i dreaded being a programmer for lack of insights in other field. But I realised that this is because I spent most of my time either reading tech stuff or writing code.
In recent years, I have started doing other things. Taking interests in stuff that I was procrastinating for years. This has really helped me relate to new disciplines and pop new ideas in my head. As I become the first customer, with the pain point.
Do other things like blogging, write books on topics that interest you. Conduct interviews while doing so. You will find what is worth working on
@csallen's How to brainstorm great business ideas is a good starting point.
See the problem around you, try to interact on forums like IH, Reddit, HN, find what people need or you need. For e.g. Aggregating "good first issues" from github repo during Hacktoberfest.
Forcing yourself to come up with and idea never worked for me. I am building a custom dashboard for Google Analytics because GA's native interface was too complex for me to see the metrics I was interested in.
Forcing to come up with a new idea never really worked for me. So my tip would be not trying to force it but just keeping an eye open for things that you get frustrated with or someone else.
All things code. Ask questions, share tech tips, etc.