What do you guys do when you don't have any good idea? How do you look for inspiration? Have you guys faced similar situations?
On the other hand, reading lots of books, reading lots of online papers and articles, learning new things, watching videos of people experiencing stuff, etc. have been effective for me. First, these are all "indirect experiences" and they give me inspiration without me having to directly experience them. Second, I do these things not directly in search for ideas but use them as inspiration to come up with new ideas myself. For example, you watch someone do something on a video, you can be like "what if?" => That's an idea.
1. Identify The Characteristics of a Good Idea
This is a little bit like product/founder fit. What works for you may not work for others. Typically good ideas are not complex but quite simple. They are often comprised of other good, simple ideas (good artists copy; great artists steal).
With respect to ideas for a product, I would say it depends on your experience and resources: have you done this before, do you have a team, do you have the skills? In general, I've seen too many people take on projects that are too large. The most common result is that they never ship. Even when you have ruthlessly stripped all features to the bare minimum, you will still suffer from Hofstadter's Law (even when you know about Hofstadter's Law):
"Hofstadter's Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law."
Start Small. Launch. Charge. Grow.
2. Find Good Ideas Where You Least Expect
There are a few strategies that may jolt you in to a fit of inspiration. You may find that ideas are all around you, waiting to be found.
Ship. Exercise your idea muscle by coming up with lots of ideas. Most of them won't be great ideas - that's ok. You're looking for quantity, not quality. Allow yourself the chance to fail (they're just ideas, you haven't implemented them) enough times so that you can find one good idea.
Don't Rush. Don't try to force it: Rovio struggled and struggled to find a game that the mass market would like. They launched over 50 games before Angry Birds.
Work Backwards. Start with what a good idea looks like when it's complete and then work backwards to the smallest origin of that idea. Implement and iterate.
I've written more about these subjects here:
Also about the second part of the answer, when you ship something and fails I feel disappointing about the time and effort that I have put for it and gaining nothing in return, especially about the time which could have been put for something better.
To be read as: Please click these links so I can get some money so I can continue getting rich from writing blog posts and not have to work an actual job.
What I'm working on now:
Other domains that I bought and want to do something with:
+ a few more ...
I used to find it hard to get ideas for new projects. Now, I see problems OR something just cool I'd like to do. I don't have the bandwidth to handle everything so I've had to put put some things on the back burner.
I've actually written about over 200 startups in the past few weeks, and one thing I really like about this - working out trends i.e. seeing overcrowded places and knowing not to even bother about going there (ex. 50 food apps - menu app, delivery app, food marketplace etc ....)
Inspiration always comes when you least expect it.
i dont meet new people much, but my mind generates lots of ideas when meet someone new, specially other area of expertise than mine.
Enjoy your free time and make yourself a better person. Here are some ways to do so.
Learn things. My last big learning project was mathematics (spent five structured years on that one). Now I'm learning Japanese. No purpose other than that I want to know more than I know now.
Read more. Read some history. Read some classics. Binge read Murakami.
Pick a couple of discrete technical aspects of some tool you never really understood, and hit them hard. I did this with C++ move semantics, and the shiny new template concepts. It's very satisfying to hit hard something you know you don't understand, and come away a few days later knowing it backwards.
Get more exercise.
I am learning German, also I am learning machine learning these days.
But haven't you felt at the end of the day doing all this spending time on something like that is worth it? What's the outcome in putting your time in to something like that?
Haven't you felt like that??
Because I feel like that at times :¡
It's not true. If you spend a few hours learning a foreign language, purely for the fun of it and because it's nice to learn, and at the end of it feel like you should have been using your free time to make an app instead, the problem is not that you should have been making an app instead.
> My last big learning project was mathematics
May I ask for what purpose? required for professional purposes?
Mathematics; about seven years ago, I was dissatisfied with my maths (or more to the point, I could feel my ability slipping away for lack of practice) so I decided to do a masters in maths. I wanted to be significantly more capable with mathematics than I was. Just that. No other reason.
I wrote about it a bit here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11267827
You can find problems to solve, or find things you or someone else are interested in. On some occasions, there is nothing wrong with looking at other people's ideas for inspiration. Even better if you can iterate their idea and make it better or find a different permutation of that idea.
Get feedback from friends, family, or intended audience.
I usually have hundreds of ideas at a time. If you ever have those moments just pick 10 to prototype out of 100 ideas and 1 to actually build.
PS. always write your ideas down somewhere
- Some content on self-service BI vs normal standard BI
- Some content how to get proper analytics requirements from business users
- Implementing cool analytics on Tableau using superstore data set
- Check Quora for more topics to write about
Basically, write content first, figure out who likes it (profile your fans), sell something to them once you have some traffic.
That's what I would do at least that's what I am doing.
Above all, appreciate the chance to stop, relax and think. These opportunities become increasingly rare as you get older.
Feel free to steal any of them: http://munfred.com/pitches.html
For me, finally getting back to taking glass blowing classes. Something that will fully engage me and take my mind off of all the ideas and life experiences I'm not having nor fulfilling.
Best of luck.
Don’t be do hard on yourself since contrary to the conventional wisdom here, true good ideas are rare .
So are you looking for startup ideas or just project ideas?
Yah the thing is even though you think it's a good idea you never know until you try it only after trying you realize it's not a good idea after all
Apart from your comment being totally against the ethos of HN, how exactly am I making a living out of my personal blog?