in Startup Explorations

Startup explorations #9 / Ideas worth pursuing

By now I feel like I have enough of an idea, at which I hinted in my last post, to begin a little wireframing. From here the idea begins to leave the safety and comfort of my own head, and goes little by little into the open where it’s much more vulnerable to reality. The following is a quick summary of the key points:

Problem:

  1. Building an audience from the ground up is too intimidating or discouraging.
  2. Careful searching for like-minded people to follow is too time consuming.
  3. Difficult to engage with already established people.

Solution:

  1. A discovery tool that recommends the best people for you to follow, which would most likely result in good engagement.
  2. Integration with popular social network sites like Twitter and Instagram.
  3. No need to calibrate or manually specify a whole bunch of parameters; the technology would automatically base its recommendations on various dynamic factors: follower counts, frequency of use, keywords, etc. It would learn more about you and your ideal community over time.

Again, I would describe our ideal user base as: those creators who are fully committed to their work and have something valuable to share, but struggle to build a consistent following, are intimidated by having to start from the bottom, or find it difficult to find a like-minded community.

*

As I begin sketching out screens and figuring out menus and buttons here or there, I’m forced to confront my own ideas even more. The most formidable hurdles at this point are all psychological: the more shape an idea takes, the more I doubt myself. What if I’ve gotten it all wrong? What if this idea sucks? It always seems much less convincing the moment I get it down on paper; suddenly a dozen other ideas seem much more interesting.

But as the truism goes, “ideas are cheap.” A recent post by Seth Godin expresses it in a different way: one’s big idea is probably not original, not breathtaking, and won’t be immediately popular—but it’s worth pursuing if it’s helpful and generous. “All the big ideas that made a difference follow this pattern.” Will this small idea transform into something bigger down the road? It could, but first it needs to be pursued.

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