“I was writing 5–10 of the most ludicrous ideas a day.”

The daily ritual for building a stronger idea muscle (image via)

“Coworking plus cat hotel.”

This is the fruit of several months’ worth of daily brainstorming. 😊

James Altucher got me started. His posts about becoming an idea machine and how to be the luckiest person on earth each came back to this common refrain: He came up with 5–10 ludicrous ideas every day in order to help strengthen his idea muscle.

Every day I write down ideas. I write down so many ideas that it hurts my head to come up with one more. Then I try to write down five more …
The “idea muscle” atrophies within days if you don’t use it. Just like walking. If you don’t use your legs for a week, they atrophy. You need to exercise the idea muscle. It takes about 3–6 months to build up once it atrophies. Trust me on this.

Hearing that others, like Chris Winfield, had tried this out and loved it, I was sold.

So for the past several months, I have come up with 5–10 ludicrous ideas every day.

  1. It’s hard at first.
  2. It gets easier.
  3. Not all of the ideas are very good, in fact the vast majority are bad (see below). Leaning into these bad, weird, dumb ideas was what paved the way for the occasional worthwhile idea to peek through.
  4. It works! My idea muscle is stronger, and I can brainstorm quicker and more confidently than before.

There’ve been some wonderful stories written about the daily idea regimen. The advice there is top-notch. Instead of advising, I’d love to encourage. Here are all the ideas I came up with during my weeks and weeks of brainstorming, listed here so that hopefully you can see that ideas don’t all have to be good, make sense, or change the world.

Ideas breed ideas, regardless of where they start.


I’ve bolded the ones that still kinda made sense to me.

Feel free to highlight any that catch your eye!

Product ideas

Software

Baremetrics for transactional emails

Baremetrics dashboard/leaderboard for blog posts

News Feeds that go oldest (unread) to newest, rather than chronologically

Buzzfeed’s Lift dashboard, but for everyone

Analytics that show if you’re on pace & your next milestone

Upworthy headline test tool (automated)

Blog plus Twitter feed

Google Analytics for the radio

Automated visitor list, from IPs of unique visitors

Change 1password and it updates everywhere

Google Reader for Twitter

Automatic social media waterfall goal tracker/alerts

Social media schedule auto-refills

Buffer for Snapchat (just tips and strategies, no automation)

Instant CRM for all your customers (happiness CRM + proactive engage)

Apps

Build a Yaniv app

“book of hoyle” app

“buffet” poker app

Nertz

Just Madden’s owner mode

Custom Rook app

Love Letter

Acquire

Fireball Island

Goods

Whole Foods drive thru

Formal sweatpants

Self-melting roads in winter

See-through toasters

Earbuds that retract into the phone

Fruit ripening indicator

Dirty dishes sensor so you know when the dishwasher is clean or dirty

Roomba for the kitchen sink

Universal sizes for tupperware, regulated by the government

Adjustable measuring cups

Marketing ideas

Start something (an agency) in order to learn about something (how agencies work)

Profile photo booth at social media conventions

Chartbeat embed on each page of your blog (real-time visits, overall, etc.)

A Twitter strategy that posts the same picture every day w/ a link back to the main website

Twitter is your blog

Medium is your e-commerce site

Instagram everything of one color

IRL snapchat filters

Twitter accounts for everything (a la ProductHunt)

Transparent customer support

Blogging ideas

Multimedia blogs — like espn.com

Run a blog but totally through Facebook

Only 10 blog posts per blog, the rest on Medium

blogpost: “Is” isn’t good enough (labels, fixed vs growth mindset)

A blog as a phonebook — alphabetical entries, A to Z

A blog with an expiration date

A blog in seasons — like a TV show or similar

blogpost: 16 Social Media Experiments And Their (Surprising) Results

blogpost: How to Live Life with No Solutions

blogpost: How to Learn Everything

blogpost: The Inboxes of Busy People // And You Thought 100 Emails Per Day Was Lots!

blogpost: Everything I Learned About Myself From Writing This Facebook Ads Guide

blogpost: The Tyranny of Data

blogpost: I’ve Got 99 Experiments, But a Winner Ain’t One

blogpost: Here’s the Thing: 95% of a Growth Marketer’s Output Doesn’t Lead to Growth

blogpost: The Only Difference Between a Growth Marketer and a Regular Marketer is Volume of Fails

blogpost: Time on Page: 9 Minutes

blogpost: Pages Per Visit: 15

New blog theme/redesign every year

Tags as commentary

Manifesto in footer

Gold Club (blog monetization strategy)

Weekly takeovers (blog monetization strategy)

blogpost: “Finger Exercises for People Who Type All Day”

blogpost: “What Content Marketing Looked Like 10 Years Ago”

blogpost: “Here’s What No One Told You About Your Smartphone”

Comments section as uservoice forum

Podcast ideas

“I know nothing” podcast — guests teach me things I don’t know

Podcast segment with my 4-year-old son every episode

Create a podcast network — with Buffer community, Buffer teammates

A podcast for every Buffer value

Podcast seasons — validate each podcast in a lean way

Just games podcast — a podcast with just the games from radio shows

Football show podcast — with call-ins

Recording a SaaS team’s daily standup and making it a podcast

Me and my friend Nick talking on the phone

Pizza ideas

Breakfast pizza

Birchbox for pizza

Pizza-by-the-slice delivery

Pizza swag giveaway for startups

Pizza art

Vertical pizza

Two-sided pizza

Parenting / Kid ideas

Gymnastics flooring for kids bedrooms

Twist-off cups with lids

Montessori fridge

Chore calendars

Visual budget for kids

Lego shop for individual pieces that lost/broke

Lego framed art sets (Mona Lisa, Starry Night)

Lego cereal (cereal shaped like Legos)

360-degree Lego video

Book ideas

Book: Everyone/everything is debt-free all at once

Book: Guy who thinks world is ending then it doesn’t

Book: Four friends try to get The Force, only one actually has it

TV show ideas

Script: anthropomorphic kitchen appliances; what happens when the fridget gets replaced

Friends but with an Air-bnb guest each episode

CSI but in a small town and a comedy

Coworking ideas

Coworking plus event space

Coworking plus pizza

Coworking plus bakery

Coworking plus maker space

Coworking plus gym

Coworking plus daycare

Coworking plus doggy daycare

Coworking plus cat hotel

Co-branded coworking spaces (Buffer + ConvertKit)

Food trucks

Toast

Chili

Smoothies

Paleo

Soda

Different kinds of potato chips

Cereal

Misc. ideas

Yearly video games as updates, not full games

DIY blood test results

Side project accelerator

SimGolf for Steam

Venture firm, funding mostly my own ideas (“Think Tank,” “Know Tank”)

20% time for reactive job roles

Christmas tree for birthdays


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