The first, most common mistake is believing that you need an amazing idea to get started
But I can tell you it only looks that way in hindsight. When Google started, it was, like, the 20th search engine. And when Facebook started, it was, like, the 20th social network. What made them successful wasn't a brilliant initial idea. It was a good enough initial idea, combined with great execution.
The next mistake is exactly the opposite: jumping into the first idea that comes to mind, without really stopping to think critically about whether it's a good idea at all.
Startup ideas morph over time. Take Airbnb, for example. Airbnb was initially literally a website for renting air beds at other people's houses. It morphed over time into all vacation rentals. So the thing you want to do is to pick a good starting point.
The third mistake is to start with a solution instead of a problem.
The last mistake is believing that startup ideas are hard to find. Actually, they're easy to find, because there are many, many real problems left in the world.
It is to evaluate your idea on four criteria, and then you take the average of the scores.
The first criteria is how big is this idea?
Founder/market fit. This is like, are the founders experts in what they're doing?
The next criteria is how sure are you that you're solving a big problem? Ideally, you have personal experience with this problem.
Here are some other signs to look for that your idea is probably a good one. You're making something you personally want to have. It turns out it's much easier to start a successful company if you're making something you yourself want
Another sign is that this only recently became possible. If something recently changed in the world, like a new technology or a new product you can build on top of, that's often a sign that a new opportunity has been created.
Filters are bad reasons to reject startup ideas. And the most dangerous part of filters is that they will cause you to reject your best startup ideas unconsciously, before they even bubble up to your conscious mind, and there are four big ones that are extremely important to understand.
The first is rejecting ideas that seem hard to get started.
The second filter is ideas that are in a boring space.
The third one is ideas that seem too ambitious. Sam Altman wrote an excellent blog post on this, called "Hard Startups." Founders instinctively shy away from really ambitious-sounding ideas because they are intimidating. But often, these are the ideas that turn into really big companies.
The last one is that founders instinctively shy away from spaces where there are existing competitors.
Now the part that you're probably waiting for, how to generate startup ideas. It is possible to sit down and explicitly think of startup ideas.
But it is actually not the best way to have startup ideas. The best way to have startup ideas is to notice them organically. There are great startup ideas all around you, and when you have a prepared mind, you see them everywhere.
So first, I want to talk about how to have startup ideas organically.
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