Ideas and Validation April 4, 2020

Which idea should I work on?


I have a handful of promising ideas for my next venture, but a bit of analysis paralysis in picking between them. I also am wary of overcommitting by starting several projects at once and then abandoning them, because that can be demoralizing.

Depending upon the week, I am drawn to the attributes of different ideas. There isn't one clear frontrunner idea that I keep coming back to.

Different ideas:

  • A really fun cutting edge idea in combining music and AI. Most of my musician friends think it's a great idea, but this is an industry that makes no money. If the idea is successful, it would involve glory but I don't see much of a path to good money. Plays to my strengths.
  • An idea in the legal market. It's high TAM, the main competitor was acquired for a lot of money but by a monolith that is not innovating, which is great. The downsides are that it's hard to get adoption by lawyers who are notoriously tech-averse, and it's a dry business. I might start having fun if it's successful, of course, but only because I like the challenge of company building, not because I love the problem or the space. Doesn't play to my strengths. Very defensible and has a great moat. It's a lifestyle business that could also be a $1B business, which isn't the case for most of these ideas.
  • A not-so-well-defined chatbot idea with very promising distribution + growth model. Fun, and possibly capitalizes on the trend of remote work. Plays to my strengths. Potentially a healthy market, decent exit opportunities, decent pivot opportunities. The easiest idea to picture myself just rolling up my sleeves and getting to work developing.
  • An interesting new take on note-taking and writing software. A product I've wanted to exist for many years. I could definitely get 100 rabid users. I don't know if they would pay more than $1.5/mo. Competitors might just copy my ideas.
  • A turn-key solution for testing new startup ideas. For $500 with just 30 minutes of time, you can quickly get a landing page, copy, creative, ads, and measure the conversion. It's a cool meta idea, and it's very neatly defined and scoped as an MVP. I would use it myself even if I couldn't sell it. However, I don't think it is a long-term financially sustaining product, and I am not sure what it pivots into.

I'd love some guidance or feedback.

  1. 3

    Put a die in a box. Shut the lid. Shake it really well. Wait for 5 seconds. You would already have an idea number in your head before opening the lid :)

  2. 3

    Pick the one that brings you the most joy, no matter what the preconceived notions may be. Then stick with it until the end.

  3. 1

    Start with the problem instead of the idea? Pick one that has an existing problem waiting to be solved. If it's already being solved by many, how can your solution be better?

  4. 1

    It's the journey that matters, not the destination -- i have always struggled with having too many ideas. I resolved to focus on one problem at a time, picking the one where i has the strongest burning itch and personal connection to. This has helped me combat the 'losing-interest' curve. In order to stay on top of all these ideas, i also created a process of cataloging them, stress testing (ex. conversations, IH), and revisiting later (say every 1-2 months). If i found that someone had done some work on that particular idea, it simply validated my idea generation process and never saw it as a lost opportunity. If i found that the idea was consistently passing the stress test and ranking high on the burning itch/personal connection scale, then i would go for it.

  5. 1

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