Thursday, April 15, 2010

Paul Graham: Organic Start-Up Ideas

The best way to come up with startup ideas is to ask yourself the question: what do you wish someone would make for you?

There are two types of startup ideas: those that grow organically out of your own life, and those that you decide, from afar, are going to be necessary to some class of users other than you. Apple was the first type. Apple happened because Steve Wozniak wanted a computer. Unlike most people who wanted computers, he could design one, so he did. And since lots of other people wanted the same thing, Apple was able to sell enough of them to get the company rolling. They still rely on this principle today, incidentally. The iPhone is the phone Steve Jobs wants. [1]

Our own startup, Viaweb, was of the second type. We made software for building online stores. We didn't need this software ourselves. We weren't direct marketers. We didn't even know when we started that our users were called "direct marketers." But we were comparatively old when we started the company (I was 30 and Robert Morris was 29), so we'd seen enough to know users would need this type of software. [2]

Read the rest of Paul Graham's essay here.

2 Comments:

At 1:55 PM, Anonymous Ann said...

Business works best when it's developed to fit a need, rather than trying to make a need for the product/service you create. Plant and Garden Blog

 
At 11:00 AM, Blogger Michael Wade said...

Ann,

It's the old rule of first find the market. An often-missed rule.

Michael

 

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