Thinking of new startup ideas is a curse. When you can’t do it, it’s the hardest thing in the world. But when you can, you can’t just switch it off.
Some founders, myself included, have this annoyingly constant stream of ideas. I have ideas for new features every day, it’s great. But also ideas for new startups, which isn’t. The only time that’s great is when you’re not working on something.
One of the biggest things I struggle with as a founder is shiny new thing syndrome. It’s super tough not to just grab the next best idea that comes my way and run with it. But they never stop coming.
So how is it that some people really struggle to come up with a single idea, and others have dozens, seemingly without trying?
It comes down to noticing problems. If you start to notice more problems in the world, you’ll eventually find yourself thinking of solutions in the background. You’ll turn yourself into an idea machine.
If that sounds too good to be true, maybe it is. It’s like one of those god-awful self help books that just tells you to do the thing in the title.
Sometimes you need to grease the idea wheels first.
You can kinda hack the process by giving yourself some questions as a guide. Questions like:
- Why is x done like this?
- Is there a better way to do x?
- What would be different if x problem didn’t exist?
Once you notice and really start to understand the problems around you, coming up with a solution is much easier.
Problem, then solution.
The thing with most struggling ideators is they have the whole thing backwards. They start with how, and then work out why. But trying to think of a solution right off the bat is almost impossible, unless you truly get the problem.
Eventually, if you ask enough questions, your brain will start asking them (and hopefully better) questions for you. Everywhere. It’s annoying—don’t say I didn’t warn you.
One thing I hear a lot is that “I thought of x, but I don’t think anyone else would want it”. That’s total crap.
I can guarantee you there’s problems in your own life, just waiting to be solved for thousands of people. If you feel the pain, other people do too. You just need to go out and find them.