How to Get Startup Ideas
November 2012 The way to get startup ideas is not to try to think of startup ideas. It's to look for problems, preferably problems you have yourself. The very best startup ideas tend to have three things in common: they're something the founders themselves want, that they themselves can build, and that few others realize are worth doing. Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, Google, and Facebook all began this way. Problems Why is it so important to work on a problem you have? I made it myself. Why do so many founders build things no one wants? At YC we call these "made-up" or "sitcom" startup ideas. For example, a social network for pet owners. The danger of an idea like this is that when you run it by your friends with pets, they don't say "I would never use this." Well When a startup launches, there have to be at least some users who really need what they're making—not just people who could see themselves using it one day, but who want it urgently. You don't need the narrowness of the well per se.