I had a realization about startup ideas. A good idea is one that you can’t wait to build and share with others. During my hay day of being an MBA student, I cranked out a bunch of business plans and entered in some competitions. I guess that I was searching for fame and fortune. Instead, I spent spending a lot of time thinking about theoretical ideas that never came to fruition. In general, I wanted experience in vetting out business ideas, presenting ideas, and getting feedback from investors and peers. I would say that I have a better idea of what will and will not work now. In addition to my ongoing learning experience, I try to attend to as many tech/women events as I can. I want to know who’s who, who’s doing what, and what I can learn. The best place to do networking is in the Silicon Valley area. We have the best, brightest people around. Yep, the best hands down.
Here are my observations of people trying to start up:
- Finding co-founders is harder than you think, there’s a reason why there are events just for finding co-founders.
- You don’t have to work at a startup to mingle with the startup elite. Everyone’s a geek, just speak geek and look chic. Ta-dah!
- Networking events happen every day of the week and are mostly in the Palo Alto/Mountain View area and San Francisco, sorry San Jose folks, you have to make the trek up north, but it’s worth it!
- Don’t spin your wheels on finding the perfect solution, just build the minimum viable product. If you can spark interest with your one-line pitch, you may have something good. If you can get paid customers before your build the product, you definitely have something good.
- If you are unsure about a startup idea, write a brief business plan to help identify gaps in skills/relationships. It’s a good exercise if you are clueless on how to start.
- A good startup idea makes for a good business plan, not the other way around. If you have a bad startup idea, it doesn’t matter how good your business plan is on paper, it’s still a bad startup idea.
- First to market is not an advantage, it just means that you are the first to make all the mistakes so that others after you don’t have to make them.
Good luck with your (ad)venture!