So, the first session is devoted to vision and ideas, and, hopefully, will answer to the question: "How to come up with a great idea?". Personally, I do not know, yet. If I knew, I would be running the successful business right now, by implementing that great idea. (You bet!)
But first things first, so lets start from brainstorming or coming up with a rough draft of idea. As Albert Einstein said:
We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.So my first question to the mentors would be:
How do you put yourself in the condition to brainstorm and think creatively? Do you need to brainstorm at all or your ideas are coming as they come?Well, I need to put a disclaimer here. I'm not a "boyscout" type of the guy. I had my past (as the most of us), and in my early ages I tried a lot of things. (I don't find those things appropriate for a productive activity at all.) So, I'm not asking about drugs or some illegal activity. (Not only about drugs, as it's still would be interesting to hear though. :)
So now it comes to the brainstorming process itself.
How does it look for you? How big is your brainstorming group and how you chose people for it?Well, there is one more question:
How would you brainstorm with people when you cannot meet in person?Let me give you an example. While I have some local friends here, most of them are very far away for IT. More then that, they are pretty far away from entrepreneurship. And those who share my passion about the business, they're too busy with their own ventures. But, lucky me, I still have some people who are sharing my passions, but the life put us pretty far away from each other. How could we brainstorm new ideas then?
More to go.
How to find the perfect idea and make yourself stick to it?Well, it's an easy shot. It goes without saying that there are some ideas that have "Wow"-factor, and other ones that seems to be good enough, but doesn't turn you up too much?
I have a personal example — one project was keeping me from sleep and I was forcing it every single moment — it was so great and terrific, has got an impressive resonance around, but I failed to monetize it. It's like something you love, spend money on it and keep alive just because people love it, too. But you can't get anything back from it (and maybe you never will). But it has a great Wow-factor.
From the other hand, I had a different venture — with a clear monetization scheme, pretty interesting, having some traction already, but — no Wow in it. Mean, every time I need to make myself re-acknowledge the interest of idea.
So what's better? The pragmatic approach with a straight path, or your passion with no good idea where is it coming to?And now another thing comes.
Is it distracting to try several ventures at the same time? Is it bad?Nowadays, it is the high tech and very agile world, things tend to change very fast. You just can't wait while you first idea will break the bank or loose, and you can't put all eggs into one basket. You're done with something, and ready to do a new something, while the old something is being cared now by your designer, QA, PR or whatever else. But isn't this something that adds a distraction and follows you the wrong way? Should you stay focused on something one?
And I don't know if this is a question to upcoming session or market research one:
How do you evaluate your idea? Are you going into it if you love it and that's it, or you first make sure everybody else will love it (and pay for it!), too? How do you do this?And finally:
Which idea is better — something that was already done (similar, or badly executed, whatever), or something that is unique and never been done before?First one seems to be more common, as nowadays the cost of experiment is really low. People can try things many times per day at low or no cost at all. However, choosing this path you'll pretty likely face a competition and will have to steal customers (can be pretty hard). From the other side, the second option — a unique and never done before idea — first of all is a very rare thing, and for the second asks a question: is there any market for it at all?
I also have a question (or proposition :) to Adeo and all other people who bring the program together. Now, when you own our personality tests, you're having a powerful mechanism to mix and match people. Are you willing to promote team building and cooperation between the students, possibly leading to new business ideas and merging companies?
Let me paraphrase it. You made a stress during the application process that you don't really care about the idea, but about a people. And I like that! This is the Institute and people would be learning something new. There are plenty of high class entrepreneurs around that aren't good in putting the idea on the table. Why should they be eliminated (like this happen in many other programs) when they can be taught or partnered with idea generators instead?
Adeo, I can see at least two options here. First of all, as it was said, you have our personality information, so you can use it to group people in a smart, academic way. (But you might need to involve some PhDs in psychology and whatever not to do this though. :)
Another option is to publish short bios of all students who'll be in program, so they can mix an match themselves (like, choose 5 people whom you want to work with, blah-blah-blah). And you'll make a final changes to make sure it works.
I don't know how big group of people it's worth creating. Personally, I think something like 5-10 students in the group would be good enough.
Yeah, I know, I know — I tend to write relatively long texts. (I don't do this often though, so I'm also inconsistent. :) And as Max Levchin told me once:
I think a critical skill for a startup founder is brevity ;-)And I can't agree more with that. But while this is my blog and nobody is forced to read it (although very encouraged to :), so I'll use it to sort out and group my thoughts together.
Feel free to ask more questions. So here comes mine in a nutshell:
- How do you put yourself in the condition to brainstorm and think creatively? Do you need to brainstorm at all or your ideas are coming as they come?
- How does it look for you? How big is your brainstorming group and how you chose people for it?
- How would you brainstorm with people when you cannot meet in person?
- How to find the perfect idea and make yourself stick to it?
- What is better: the pragmatic idea with a straight and clear path or something you're passionate about with no clear idea where is it coming to, but willingness to go through it?
- Is it distracting to try several ventures at the same time? Is it bad?
- How do you evaluate your idea? Are you going into it if you love it, or you first make sure everybody else will love it (and pay for it!), too? How do you do this?
- Which idea is better — something that was already done (similar, or badly executed, whatever), or something that is unique and never been done before?
- Adeo: Are you going to group people into the teams (possibly rotating within time), by personal preferring or personality test results, to cooperate together and generate new and, potentially, brilliant ideas?
Can I have a private session brainstorm with my mentors? :)P.S. Meanwhile, I'm going to think it over and maybe I'll come up with even more questions for the mentors. I'll do my best to keep the post updated as well.