Saturday, May 9, 2015

Startup, What Problem are you solving? I've found the answer

How do you come up with business ideas? Any very savvy person in the startup would point you to Paul Grahams startupideas.html document.
The essay points out that it's much more easier to get good ideas when you think of problems that exists in the world. Problems are bad things and people would always want to get rid of them, so if you have something that solves such problems, going into business would be quite straight forward.

Problems get level. Big problem = Big idea, choose your level.

In startup context, I see the value of thinking from a problem perspective to generate ideas worth chasing. That's very clear. e.g Dropbox helps with the mess of having to copy your files from one media to another, but what problem does a game like angry birds solve?

This is a classic situation newbie tech entrepreneurs may find themselves in -"what problem is your startup solving"?

To get around this, I like to think of it as 2 and only 2 things you could do as startup:

  1. Solve a problem (pain)
  2. Meet a need. (desire)
If you are not solving a problem as it were, you are meeting a need. In the case of a game like angry birds, the need for entertainment.

But just a few minutes ago, I found a better answer to the puzzle and I realized that the issue has been the way we were framing problems. See the answer in the quote below:
Everyone is in search of progress (outcomes/reaching goals) and it helps to think of problems in terms of the obstacles that keep them from achieving this progress

We tend to frame only the obvious problems as the problems worth solving. Whereas, anything that limits us from reaching what we want can be seen as a problem.

That's insightful!

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