This answer makes me want to compare startups and side projects.
I see side projects as a different category than a startup. A startup needs a product that ideally scratches your own itch, has a market (that wants to buy), and isn’t diving into a ocean of competitors. Additionally, you should be building it with a lean feedback loop, iterating often.
A side project on the other hand, is something fun or cool that I am interested in hacking together to bring into the world. It helps if it teaches me something along the way.
Being a creative person, I think of ideas that I think are cool all the time. The ideas usually come from observing other peoples conversations and their complaints or observing shortcomings in other products. Or, they pop out of nowhere…Often times I see a opportunity for a side project that never could have existed before…For example, betonspecs.com….where you can bet on where the location of the next Snapbot will be.
I keep a running list of ideas on my website. I am working on one of them now and hope to launch it on PH!