Figuring out a startup idea is like finding a life partner.
If one is extremely lucky, one will come across something and intuitively figure out that its for him/her. I’ve been lucky with finding a life partner that way. I am still hunting for the same luck for my startup idea.
Unlike many others I have spoken to, who chose to start something after having atleast a basic plan, I had done the opposite. I had no plan. I simply, badly wanted to give a shot at my own stuff. Where the headiness came from, I do not know.
Now that the initial euphoria of letting the world know that I would be doing something *cool* on my own is gone, things are a bit different.
One day, things are clear… like the blue sky! Very next day, doubts fill the mind… turbulence and missing links!
And I am not yet ‘in’ fully… at least officially until March 11.
There are things that distract
- friend who has got a huge hike on his next jump and is advising you to do the same too
- friend who thinks that your headiness will lead nowhere and points out statistics of startup failures (80%, really?)
- ‘you still don’t have a plan, are you kidding!’ remarks
- ‘I think you will be back to a regular job soon’ remarks
- ‘he is simply over confident’ quips
And then, there are things to decide / questions to answer to myself
- pursue an idea that fills your wallet?
- pursue an idea that warms your heart?
- pursue an idea thrills your brain?
- how to find a magic concoction of all 3 listed above?
- if 4 is not possible, which among 1-3 can be compromised?
- can you compromise at all?
- couldn’t you have waited until a spark came along?
- do you realise how much of an effort lies ahead of you?
Its a regular thing, battling with these demons often.. suppressing them easily on one day and struggling on the next.
Failure is a very materialistic word
Whatever the doubts, whatever the fears… I am heavily convinced that it is a truly worthy thing to try out… even if it eventually means failure. Failure is a very materialistic word. Because in this context it means only two things
- losing money
- finding things difficult when you decide to go back to your career (if your startup had been a deviation from your regular job)
In every other sense, one would have gained. Experience, life-skills and more! To call such an experiment a failure would be incorrect.
So, if one is okay with losing a certain amount of money and is already reconciled to the fact that things could get into hot waters if it didnt work out as planned… I think things should be okay!
Things will wildly vary from one extreme to another. I guess, one has to learn to live with that… esp in initial few days. I am still trying my best and learning here!
Connecting the dots
In the last month, after having gone through a whole lot of emotions and ideas and thoughts, I have listed down a few things that I have read (or thought) and inclined towards believing
- its not the idea that matters, but the execution
- if the idea has not been tried out yet, probably there is a good reason why
- a super idea that is complex has more chances of failure than a mundane but simple idea
- like Peter Lynch says, if your idea cannot be explained with a rough sketch on a small visiting card, it is probably too complex for you
- one of the best ideas to have is something that fixes something for **yourself**
- start small, start fast.. but start with atleast one fully working functionality
- don’t ask too many people for validation of your idea. Without a working prototype to take a look at, their opinion varies wildly!!!
- brainstorm with people you trust, with people who have at least a bit of respect for you, with people who give you a serious ear… everywhere else you are simply wasting your time
- scribbling randomly on a piece of paper is a much better way of brainstorming than thinking it out in your mind
- if you are convinced something is fantastic, wait.. for a couple of days. Euphoria distorts facts.
- Follow your heart.. but realise what you may have to give up in return. Ideal situations are few and far between.
- target 10 early adopters and get feedback early. User validation/acceptance is the most important first step before you can plunge further.
- spend time and not money in the initial days
- money is precious and so is time
And then these notes, on a personal level, though it may not make much sense to you
- at 3a.m in the morning, if you slapped me awake and asked what I would do in life, I would probably tell you that I would run a library… I see this written down in almost every journal I had maintained
- I have always had a variety of hobbies since childhood and took many of them seriously, spending quite a bit of money on each. There should be a few more like me.
- monopoly is my all time favourite game
- open source is my best chance at Business Analytics / Data warehousing. The high cost of proprietary licenses is simply out of my reach.
- open source is also my best chance at anything that I want to do.. home grown stuff is unviable and paying for anything is a risk for me
- as of today, my best idea is something that stitches books, photography, travel and other hobbies… which am working on (Hobbyists hub). I am yet to figure out the market size and the viability of anything in this area.
- I should have probably waited for week more before making a couple of expenses.. luckily, these are not high. But these lessons should be learnt quickly!
- wait.. don’t jump and update that on Facebook immediately.. you will probably delete it in an hour (happened a couple of times :-()
Finally, I think there are two interesting books you may like to read on this topic.
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