Having “done” an email server startup, PostPath, through execution and $215m sale, I’m in a new position, that of not needing to work.
Yet – I enjoy noodling around with technology, writing code, problem solving, learning, building something. Equally, I enjoy thinking through the ideas and opportunities that exist throughout the tech industry.
So, I’m beginning to suspect that another startup might be in my future, one that can structure and provide some goal-orientation for that noodling and thinking, and of course could deliver the pleasures of creatively building something great with other people.
Of course, I’m conscious that, once I commit, I will be committed, on the bad days as well as the good. If I were inclined to give up as soon as a feeling of “I’m not being fulfilled!” came over me, better not to start, since there’s no way to succeed without powering through frustrations. So the bar has to be high.
Is there a perfect startup idea out there – a huge market, creatively challenging yet achievable solution/technology, fun, no competition, first mover opportunity with barriers-to-scale for anyone trying to follow? Actually, no.
I’d observe that many of the “best” startups faced substantial competition (Google, Facebook), but simply had a better, or at least different, take. Few opportunities attract no attention at all. You have to tolerate, and eventually overcome, competition.
Startups can also grow in scope, so the market does not have to be so huge to begin with, provided it can become huge – or even better be made huge by the delivery of something important that no-one previously knew they needed.
I don’t think I would compromise on the “challenging yet achievable solution/technology” part, why work on a problem if the work, and the thing you’re building, isn’t interesting in itself? And it needs to be “achievable,” with some worthwhile near-term goals. One thing I regret with PostPath was choosing something that was so hard to get to take-off velocity, though of course solving hard problems can (and did) create value.
So, this blog is part of an effort to find the start-up idea that:
- Aims at a substantial problem, a market that can become huge
- Addresses a creatively challenging yet achievable solution/technology
- Fun to build, fun to have built
Regular posting is intended, half-formed and ill-formed thoughts will be visible, linking and sharing are encouraged, comments and your own ideas are very welcome.