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The Beginnings of an Idea

Updated: Jul 29, 2022

What makes an idea, really good? Hint: it's not the concept.

The funny thing about startups is that as Paul Graham from Y Combinator states, “they are something you would see in an undergraduate paper, but not in a Ph.D dissertation”. The core competency of an entrepreneur is someone who has learned and known so much, that after amalgamating knowledge is able to let it wander free. It is because an undergraduate will effectively know who their users would be, and how to make the product developed useful, whereas a dissertation is an exploration of knowledge for the sake without practical applications. Many things are great in theory, but fail in practice.

The core competency of an established entrepreneur is thus, to not overwhelm the user with knowledge, but to make life simple.

In fact, most businesses that fail are because they are “thought up” and not noticed. As venture capitalists, we like to talk about product market fit. At times, I throw around this word as jargon so I feel as I am part of the Silicon Valley insider club, that I as an almighty 24 year old in this space know what the hell I am talking about.

In reality, it is very difficult to know what product market fit is. Product market fit ties very closely to the demographic you are serving, and how well your solution solves their problem. A plethora of startups fail because they are switchblade solutions, that essentially are fancy but fail to solve any problem at all. An example is Juicero, a wifi juicer no one truly needs. An argument against this is Amazon, or Walmart, but it’s important to notice that these startups became larger via expansion after they solved one problem, very well.

The core to a very good entrepreneur is empathy and ability to not come up with ideas, but the capaciousness to notice issues that they are passionate about solving- it is live on the edge of instability and the verge of change as this is where growth begins and trends emerge.

A very great place to start an idea is to find the problems you already have and try to solve them. Most likely there will be other people with the same problems. Your competition might be other people trying to solve them, but statistically the reason why startups fail has never been about their competition. It is similar to dating- it is simply because they were not a well-fit solution for their target consumers.

Thus, a very good business built on a startup is done by engaging with consumers, by doing. Telling someone to learn how to build a business via reading books when it is a relationship or building enterprise is like telling them to learn how to have sex via reading romance stories.

To recap, the birth of an idea, is reflecting via our own problems. It is to feel and take on the problems and pain points of those around us, and to start solving them.

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