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Ask HN: Should I Build These Startups?
5 points by vincentchan on July 20, 2009 | hide | past | favorite | 7 comments
Hi everyone,

I am writing this to ask for your help. Please read through this if you can.

I am a young entrepreneur who just resigned from my banking job in the US and try to begin my entrepreneurship journey in my home country, Hong Kong. Since there are not too many link-minded entrepreneurs here, I really hope the community here can give me some advice.

Below are 3 of my business ideas and I hope you can give me some comments:

1) A Fun & Easy Online HR System (pls go to the specific site for detailed ideas)


Why: - People hate HR - But people are the most important asset - Have to do HR right

2) A Math Typing App & Learning Community


Why: - Hard to communicate Math online - Children hate Math - Create a fun environment for them to learn

3) Online Problem Solving Tools (Decision Tree...etc)

Why: - Decision Tree is very useful - People ignore these simple but powerful tools - Enable people to learn from others' thought process


4) Please Vote

If you don't want to post your comments here, can you simply vote for the best ideas on the following page? Thanks!


FYI, I have also used Google Adword to drive traffic to those pages. If I have any responses, I will post the result here later.

For every entrepreneur here, thanks for setting a path for me to try to follow. I will never forget people helping me to achieve my dream.

All the best,

Vincent Chan http://twitter.com/VincentChan

If you have to ask HN, then you probably shouldn't.

I'll probably be slapped on the wrists for this, but if it doesn't drive you then you won't survive. If you don't have a passion for your product, then you'll be tempted to give up.

I second this comment.

I, myself, have come up with numerous ideas - very good ones too; tried to execute a few of them and realized my heart was more in the ideal vision of them than in the actual service/product they were delivering.

That is a hindrance, because the ideal vision is a wonderful thing to have. It is, however, only one piece of the puzzle (albeit a big one) that must be fully complemented by your own personal connection and commitment to the product/service that the ideal vision will be serving.

Your overviews are so brief it's nect to impossible ot make serious comment but...

First up HR. You I dont think you would ever manage to sell this as a web app. Personal employee details are, well, sacrosant property at any large company. Trusting such details to a web startup is unlikely to happen.

Handytree - Im not sure I get this idea. There are a few decision making startups kicking about (hunch for a start) you might want to research. I think pitching this to people as a site to use would be harder than most.

Mathtribes. This to me seems your strongest idea - but also a hard one to make money off. Math education is usually well laid out in the National Curriculum's of individual countries so you have to make sure you focus any lesson plan material to get it right (if you dont cover the curriculum exactly Teachers are unlikely to use it). I like the Q/A methodology idea though - that could be handy. But as I said - how to monetize it is a problem.

First of all, thanks so much for your comment. You are right, my overviews are too brief coz I don't want to write a long essay here to scare off people or point you guys to my own blog. I want to start the discussion first.

1)HR You're right. Personal info is sensitive but for Basecamp, Mint, and Zendesk. They also manage customers' confidential information. I believe there should be some ways to solve this problem. What's your thought?

2)Decision Tree I am sorry that this one is a little bit confusing. The app will actually let you input your utility of each choices and calculate the best choice for you. I think Hunch is guessing your best choice. But my app will be like a calculator. You have to input other choice and path yourself. You can check out the more detailed idea on HBR:


3)Math Good question. Monetizing this could be difficult. I think I will just focus on the US in the beginning. Do you think monetizing it by related services like real-time tutoring, and premium questions and games are possible? I just think if parents are willing to pay for Club Penguin, they should be willing to pay for education as well. Would love to hear your comments.

Million Thanks!

I think you should be a little more specific in order for people to give you any real advice.

From what I can see, all of the ideas which you have listed deal with viable markets. HR, E-learning and Problem-Solving(??) are all useful domains but whether you will succeed really comes down to how you execute your startup.

But I do applaud you for sharing your ideas with the community, I've seen way too many people who are so secretive about their idea.

Thanks a lot for your reply. You are correct. Ideas are easy, execution is difficult. I will remember this one.

Sharing ideas is important to me coz it's hard to find like-minded people in my country. This is the only way I can learn from others.

Notes: I don't mean to advertise my pages here. Actually I haven't finalized those product names yet. I just want to see if any entrepreneurs here can give me some advice. Thanks.

This is the link of the surveymonkey page:


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