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From getting ideas to creating a startup

By Bram Kanstein

Introduction

Everyone has ideas, I think I literally have 100's that come up from time to time when I see something that reminds me of something else, or when I encounter a (new) problem. I have a Sparkfile where I note down all ideas that come to mind. Some are stupid, some are huge, but they are all ideas that, eventually, could be useful some time. In my view, ideas are born out of your experiences, your problems, your victories, stuff you see, stuff that inspires, big companies, but also small ones. How can you reach a point where you have an idea that's truly interesting and worth chasing? And what do you do next? That's what this playlist is all about!

Bram Kanstein — Jack of all Trades | Startups - Tech - Business | Building @startupstash | Product ...

Added by Bram Kanstein: “Ideas are a combination of stuff you see, hear, read and learn over time. Writing down your own ideas (how stupid/simple they may be) en re-reading them a few months later let's you see new connections and create new ideas on top of the ones you've already written down. In the end there could be the ultimate concept you want to pursue.

1 The Spark File

The Spark FileLooking back at all the tools and techniques that I've developed over the years as a writer, it occurs to me that most of them are, in one way or another, grappling with two critical mental forces: the power (and weakness) of human memory, and the sometimes overwhelming drive to procrastinate. Let's start with memory, and put off

Added by Bram Kanstein: “"There is a misbegotten belief that action is the only way to learn. The combination of LinkedIn and Google mean that experts who can shed light on critical assumptions are no more than a mouse click away."

2 What The Wright Brothers Could Teach Today's Innovators About Solving Problems

One key to successful innovation, a growing body of innovation thinkers believe, is trial-and-error experimentation. Proponents of the Lean Startup methodology urge innovators to create a minimum viable product (MVP)-something that solves a customer's problem adequately but isn't perfectly polished-and use it as a vehicle to gather critical in-market learning. The approach makes many executives inside big companies nervous. After

Added by Bram Kanstein: “"Right now, today, in 2014 is the best time to start something on the internet. There has never been a better time in the whole history of the world to invent something."

3 You Are Not Late

Can you imagine how awesome it would have been to be an entrepreneur in 1985 when almost any dot com name you wanted was available? All words; short ones, cool ones. All you had to do was ask. It didn't even cost anything to claim. This grand opportunity was true for years. In 1994 a Wired writer noticed that mcdonalds.com

Added by Bram Kanstein: “"Try to please yourself first with the idea you have, and start from there."

4 How To Move Past The "Everything's Been Done" Trap And Find Your Next Great Idea

Have you ever felt the sheer terror of a stark white document? Have you raged at your inability to simply tap your keyboard and put down just one semi-original thought? Yes, you have. Everybody has, especially in fast-paced creative fields where the biggest roadblock is often all the great ideas that have come before. "People say there are maybe five

Added by Bram Kanstein: “"Before swinging the bat, be pragmatic, evaluate the field, and recognize your strengths and weaknesses."

5 Got a Startup Idea? Ask These Questions First

Got a Startup Idea? Ask These Questions FirstThese two questions just might save you years and years of painThis essay is in response to this week's Startup Edition topic, "How do you turn your idea into a startup?" "Hey, Ryan! I have an awesome startup idea to disrupt LEGO's! It's called Mego." "Tell me about it, Steve." I respond. "Ok,

Added by Bram Kanstein: “"Most startups end up nothing like the initial idea. It would be closer to the truth to say the main value of your initial idea is that, in the process of discovering it's broken, you'll come up with your real idea."

6 Ideas for Startups

October 2005 (This essay is derived from a talk at the 2005 Startup School.) How do you get good ideas for startups? That's probably the number one question people ask me. I'd like to reply with another question: why do people think it's hard to come up with ideas for startups? That might seem a stupid thing to ask. Why

Added by Bram Kanstein: “Sharing is caring, it makes your ideas better and helps you validate your assumptions. Don't be secretive, the people you want advice from are far to busy to steal your idea.

7 Developing new startup ideas

If you want to start a company and are working on new ideas, here's how I've always done it and how I recommend you do it. Be the opposite of secretive. Create a Google spreadsheet where you list every idea you can think, even really half-baked ones. Include ideas you hear about (make sure you keep track of who had

Added by Bram Kanstein: “"The way to get startup ideas is not to try to think of startup ideas. It's to look for problems, preferably problems you have yourself."

8 How to Get Startup Ideas

November 2012 The way to get startup ideas is not to try to think of startup ideas. It's to look for problems, preferably problems you have yourself. The very best startup ideas tend to have three things in common: they're something the founders themselves want, that they themselves can build, and that few others realize are worth doing.

Added by Bram Kanstein: “"Product / Market fit can be loosely defined as the point in time when your product has evolved to the point that a market segment finds it attractive so that you can grow your product / company scalably."

9 The Product / Market Fit Cycle

Added by Bram Kanstein: “"This is your business, your baby. Show your love and care for it and for your customers."

10 5 Steps to Validate Your Business Idea in the Real World

If you have a business or are thinking about starting one, it's going to be in the real world. Not in your mind. Your audience and customers are going to be real people, not imaginary. So why are you validating ideas in your head? You need real, hands-on feedback. This feedback helps you make better business decisions. Note from Corbett:

Added by Bram Kanstein: “"Don't incorporate a hobby. Incorporate when you are serious about making your startup a business."

11 Don't register your idea as a company

When to incorporate is one of those topics which comes up time and time again, and there is much conflicting advice out there. I'm lucky enough to have a number of different experiences and perspectives with this, and I now believe that by far the best option in almost all cases is to delay registering a company for as long

Added by Bram Kanstein: “"Evolving your idea is the embodiment of understanding your users."

12 Startups in 13 Sentences

February 2009 One of the things I always tell startups is a principle I learned from Paul Buchheit: it's better to make a few people really happy than to make a lot of people semi-happy. I was saying recently to a reporter that if I could only tell startups 10 things, this would be one of them. Then I thought:

Added by Bram Kanstein: “"Focus on the smallest possible problem you could solve that would potentially be useful."

13 Ten Rules for Web Startups

#1: Be Narrow Focus on the smallest possible problem you could solve that would potentially be useful. Most companies start out trying to do too many things, which makes life difficult and turns you into a me-too. Focusing on a small niche has so many advantages: With much less work, you can be the best at what you do. Small

Added by Bram Kanstein: “"You need three things to create a successful startup: to start with good people, to make something customers actually want, and to spend as little money as possible."

14 How to Start a Startup

March 2005 (This essay is derived from a talk at the Harvard Computer Society.) You need three things to create a successful startup: to start with good people, to make something customers actually want, and to spend as little money as possible. Most startups that fail do it because they fail at one of these.

Added by Bram Kanstein: “"Business plan" is a big word, although you've got to have something written down on paper. The folks at Sequoia Capital want to see this, so I guess that'll pass as a business plan :)

15 Writing a Business Plan

Added by Bram Kanstein: “Mark Suster (@msuster) partner at Upfront Ventures and an investor in startups. He writes awesome articles on his blog and in this article he explains why you should invest in yourself, before you invest (time and/or money) in anything else: "There comes a moment in one’s life where if you decide you want to go for it you have to invest in yourself. Literally. As in take less cash compensation than you could otherwise earn. To invest in your future."

17 The Very First Startup Founder You Need to Invest in is You

This week I wrote about obsessive and competitive founders and how this forms the basis of what I look for when I invest. I had been thinking a lot about this recently because I'm often asked the question of "what I look for in an entrepreneur when I want to invest?" I look for a lot of things, actually: Persistence

Added by Bram Kanstein: “"At its best, starting a startup is merely an ulterior motive for curiosity. And you'll do it best if you introduce the ulterior motive toward the end of the process."

18 Before the Startup

October 2014[[[[[[[ (This essay is derived from a guest lecture in Sam Altman's startup class at Stanford. It's intended for college students, but much of it is applicable to potential founders at other ages.) One of the advantages of having kids is that when you have to give advice, you can ask yourself "what would I tell my own kids?"

Added by Bram Kanstein: “Just some precautionary tips :)

19 10 ways you’ll probably f**k up your startup

1. No clear vision or purposeThis should be the starting point for any startup founder, but it's often overlooked. Too often people dive straight into their shiny solution ideas without thinking about why they're doing what they're doing or considering the change they want to see in the world. "Chase the vision not the money. The money will end up

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