On questions and ideas for building a startup



Here is a collection of ideas, questions and heuristics that might be helpful for building a startup. I will update this collection in the future whenever I stumble upon a good idea.

Bothering Problems. What bothers you? What bothers other people?

Future Gaps. “Live in the future, then build what’s missing.” – Paul Graham

Person Categories. Consider specific groups (e.g., runners). What needs might they have?

Build for yourself. What do you want for yourself? Create something you’d love.

Trending Topics. What topics are trending?

Elon’s Top 5. What are five problems that are most important to you to work on?

Altruistic Ventures. What can you do for others? Solve problems that benefit society.

Future Bestsellers. What is a new product that will be sold by the millions in the near future? Predict a product that might fly off the shelves soon.

Clash of Domains. What skills do you have which might be interesting in another field? Seek intersections.

Unrecognized Needs. Develop something people didn’t know they needed until it exists.

Intense Curiosity. What is something you are intensely curious about? “I could force myself to be fairly good in a lot of things, but I couldn’t be really good in anything where I didn’t have an intense interest.” – Charlie Munger

Economic Shifts. Explore sectors in decline and brainstorm revival strategies.

Niche Exploration. Dive into a specific niche or subculture; unique needs may hide there.

Ideas = Starting point. Ideas are a just a starting point. Execution and iteration is what matters most. Usually it’s not the first idea which works.

Ongoing changes. What changes in the world? Think about technological, regulatory or macro-economic changes.

VC Capital Flow. In which areas do Venture Capital companies invest in?

Dissect business models. What could be done better?

Just work. “The way to figure out what to work on is by working.” – Paul Graham

Eliminate your job. What has to be done to eliminate your job?

Talk to business owners. What do they need?

Things that are not changing What is not going to change in the next 10 years? Build a business around the things that are stable.

Bus-ticket theory of genius “(…) to have a disinterested obsession with something that matters” – Paul Graham