How to get startup ideas? By not thinking of a startup idea
When you have an idea for a startup, ask yourself: who wants this right now? Who wants this so much that they'll use it even when it's a crappy version one made by a two-person startup they've never heard of? If you can't answer that, the idea is probably bad.
This resonates with me so deeply.
The night before I launched Sendy, I was about to turn in for the day. I finished the last bits, wrapped the code up in a zip, uploaded it to our server and blasted out the email (with Sendy of course) I've prepared earlier to all our mailing lists from SUBERNOVA & MockVault.
Then i went to bed. Minutes before I fell asleep, I received a notification that someone bought Sendy! The excitement of receiving the first sale from your newly launched app is pure happiness. Someone actually voted with their wallet! Then, another one came in.
I decided to check my iPhone to see if anyone was talking about it on Twitter. I saw a LONG list of tweets all pointing to Hacker News.
I immediately got up, turned on my computer and bought Shaun Inman's Mint to check the analytics to Sendy's site. Hits from Hacker News came pouring in right when I got Mint set up. It was then I realized Sendy was on the front page of Hacker News. As I checked the comments on the site, more copies were sold.
Sendy was 1.0. And I wonder if people knew who we were. But it doesn't matter, because it's a product that people want. It's a product that we need, not an idea that was thought up intentionally.