A set of notes on the topic will be provided, and will include three bullet points. Candidates will be asked to select two of the bullet points and to base their essay on those two points. They should not attempt to discuss more than two of the points, as this will lead to the essay being less developed than required. Candidates will also be asked to explain which of the two points is more important in a given respect, and to give reasons for their opinion.
Want to start a startup? Get funded by Y Combinator. October This essay is derived from a talk at the Startup School. How do you get good ideas for startups?
That's probably the number one question people ask me. I'd like to reply with another question: That might seem a stupid thing to ask. Why do they think it's hard?
If people can't do it, then it is hard, at least for them. What people usually say is not that they can't think of ideas, but that they don't have any. That's not quite the same thing.
It could be the reason they don't have any is that they haven't tried to generate them. I think this is often the case.
I think people believe that coming up with ideas for startups is very hard-- that it must be very hard-- and so they don't try do to it. They assume ideas are like miracles: I also have a theory about why people think this. They think creating a startup is just a matter of implementing some fabulous initial idea.
And since a successful startup is worth millions of dollars, a good idea is therefore a million dollar idea.
If coming up with an idea for a startup equals coming up with a million dollar idea, then of course it's going to seem hard. Too hard to bother trying. Our instincts tell us something so valuable would not be just lying around for anyone to discover. Actually, startup ideas are not million dollar ideas, and here's an experiment you can try to prove it: Nothing evolves faster than markets.
The fact that there's no market for startup ideas suggests there's no demand. Which means, in the narrow sense of the word, that startup ideas are worthless. Questions The fact is, most startups end up nothing like the initial idea.
It would be closer to the truth to say the main value of your initial idea is that, in the process of discovering it's broken, you'll come up with your real idea.
The initial idea is just a starting point-- not a blueprint, but a question. It might help if they were expressed that way. Instead of saying that your idea is to make a collaborative, web-based spreadsheet, say: A few grammatical tweaks, and a woefully incomplete idea becomes a promising question to explore.
There's a real difference, because an assertion provokes objections in a way a question doesn't. I'm going to build a web-based spreadsheet, then critics-- the most dangerous of which are in your own head-- will immediately reply that you'd be competing with Microsoft, that you couldn't give people the kind of UI they expect, that users wouldn't want to have their data on your servers, and so on.
A question doesn't seem so challenging. And everyone knows that if you tried this you'd be able to make something useful. Maybe what you'd end up with wouldn't even be a spreadsheet. Maybe it would be some kind of new spreasheet-like collaboration tool that doesn't even have a name yet.
You wouldn't have thought of something like that except by implementing your way toward it. Treating a startup idea as a question changes what you're looking for.As a member, you'll also get unlimited access to over 75, lessons in math, English, science, history, and more.
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