Great Ideas Seem Initially Bad

2 min read

What to do?

Make something people want

  1. Find simple solutions to overlooked problems that actually need to be solved.
  2. Deliver them as informally as possible.
  3. Start with a crude version 1.
  4. Iterate rapidly.

If you can’t convince yourself first, then change what you’re doing

Dont look for ideas, just work on things that you find genuinely interesting

What seems like work to other people that doesn’t seem like work to you?

Live in the future and look back

  • Remove steps

  • Make it possible for more people

  • Make it possible in more situations

founder sees idea, customer sees solution, investor sees market

harder the problem, the better

When you meet a decision point, pick the harder problem

Great Ideas Seem Initially Bad

They challenge norms and touch taboos. They are contrarian and right.

They unbundle functions layer by layer.

notice problems instead of thinking ideas

The idea of having ‘‘one idea’’ is false. Team must get dozens of ideas right. Seek a cluster of connected ideas.

Great ideas are about reordering existing + connecting together + right timing.

Creativity is just connecting things. Creative people feel a little guilty because they just saw something obvious.

Steve Jobs

Secret = you believe in it + most others don’t + you got the right answer

Secret to get product ideas = don’t think of product ideas

Cultivate a secret about customer and technology.

Work on existing problems. Existing problem means some user wants the solution immediately

Mass Desire

Mass Desire can not be created, it can only be channeled and exploited.

Mass Desire is the wave we want to ride

Archaic, subconscious, instinctive desires that are continually re-shaped by social, economical and technological forces.


What problem do YOU experience or observe firsthand?

• Where do you see massive waste?

  • What important truth do you hold that a few people agree with?

• What is a wrong answer you observe but can’t talk about? (taboos)

• Where do competitors have unexpected failure?

• Where do customers complain about competitor’s solution?

• What does your target segment complain about?

• Where do you have unexpected failure?

• Where do competitors have unexpected failure?

• Where does regulation, demographic and tech shifts make life harder?

  • What would you like someone to build for you?

• What tools do you know better than anyone?

• What have you built in a similar domain that can solve this problem?

• What change in adjacent domain makes this problem solvable?

• Where does leading company in a similar domain have unexpected success lately?

January 2, 2020