I'm desperate to become an entrepreneur but ive been lacking business/ product ideas. For those entrepreneurs out there, how did you come up with ideas & how did you know which idea to pursue?

  • Knowing which ideas have promise comes with experience, and more often than not experienced entrepreneurs get it wrong too. Pick something that you’re passionate enough about to dedicate the next 10 years of your life to. Don’t try to be too clever.

  • They come to you naturally, you wake up in the night, when you are on the bus, or when you are upset about a service and think this really sucks someone should do a better product here … this someone can be you …. desperately searching for an idea is in my opinion not a good approach. You will end up working on an idea you think is good but it needs to be outstanding and you need to burn for it to survive all the shit that will come …

    Good luck

  • Being an entrepreneur is a fucking misery. If you don’t have an idea for something to work on, do yourself a favor and pick a career that you enjoy.

    You’re not going to love this unless you are passionate about what you do. You can’t manufacture that.

  • Hi anonymous! My take on this question is that this is a mindset, really. Do read http://startupgeist.com/startup-ideas/ on this as well. The most important take-away: start with a problem/need for a certain customer group, and dig in. Want to know more? I’m helping aspiring founders here in Tel Aviv do exactly that. Send me a message here if you wanna know more: http://scr.im/traction (protected e-mail address, you understand why ๐Ÿ™‚ )

  • The good ideas are never obvious, else everyone would be doing it.

    I suggest pick a mediocre idea and start with it, and pivot toward better ones once you discover more about the market.

    Or chat with other entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs often have the opposite problem of too many idea but no time to do them, and would love it if someone want to run with it.

  • Good ideas are like good couples. There’s only one way to have them :

    Start with an imperfect couple and improve it with all your love every days of every year.

    The idea sounds good, not perfect. But it’s a problem you’re very passionate about. Or feel you could be passionate about. You’ll spend 5-10 years of your life fighting it !

    Then improve the idea. As you learn more about your market, you’ll have to adapt.

    We pivoted at least two major times before reaching our current project. Now it makes so much sense.

    Let me give you the naked truth about my project.

    I had a cool idea for a tech to protect documents against counterfeiting.

    I lived in China (I’m a French dude, no family relations with China, but I love China and I speak mandarin fluently) so I knew that documents counterfeiting can be a real issue.

    I thought. Hey, I love cryptography, I have this tech idea that could make forgery impossible. Let’s do it !

    After 6 months, I realised the tech wasn’t feasible. Also I realised the market was really hard to penetrate. Document security ? How do you even approach governments as a startup ? Do I really really want to work with the Chinese government ? Really ?

    So I pivoted to making wood certificates that can’t be forged (using crypto, signal processing etc… I won’t dive into the tech, it’s irrelevant to my point). And we could give those wood cards to luxury products !

    Wood have a great touch and feel, being a French guy, it’s easy to contact luxury brands, and living in China I can contact the local CEOs of those Luxury brands !

    After 6 months, I realised two things. Wood is expensive. Too expensive for most products, we’re looking at a certificate that would cost couple of euros to produce, nobody would want that.

    And also, guess what ? Luxury brands don’t give a fuck about counterfeits !

    I didn’t know that. Nobody.Ever.Told.Me.That !

    It just doesn’t make sense, but it’s true. They pretend they care, but they actually don’t.

    So I decided to pivot one last time, to using paper based certificates (also with a tech to read the microstructure, to make the thing unforgeable.).

    Paper based certificates wasn’t possible initially, because I didn’t master the tech well enough. After a year of R&D (since the start of the project), now we have the tools to make it possible to read the microstructure of paper.

    And instead of protecting luxury goods, let’s protect medicine and milk powder !

    Medicine and Infant formulas are also produced in Europe (easy customer access for me) and they’re heavily counterfeited in China.

    And guess what ? It worked great !

    After 18 months of struggle (since the start of the project), I finally found what the market I was looking for !

    And I have also found the perfect project that fits my skills the best. How many people in the world could do this project better than me ?

    French guy (good for those Europe based brands) living in China (hey, counterfeits are a big problem there) using crypto and machine learning (my speciality)

    Having the right fit with your skills and your market just takes forever. As you understand you market more, your idea will evolve a lots. That’s how you get the real great ideas. Not in a brainstorming session.

    Of course in my case we where working on a hard tech, so it took way too long. We should have taken a more lean approach and learn from the market before doing any R&D. But eh. That’s how you learn in life.

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