PG’s ‘Startup Ideas’ Post: One Missing Heuristic

November 22, 2012 2:25 pm

PG wrote a great article recently on how to get startup ideas – tonnes of great points, and a pleasure to read. There was one point which we thought he missed (or maybe alluded to indirectly) – one more heuristic to spot startup ideas. We picked it up from Jawed Karim (YouTube co-founder) – but could not locate the video now – this is basically from a lecture he gave at Stanford, and, if memory serves right, was right after Google acquired YouTube. Here is the heuristic:

“Focus on enabling technologies and environmental factors”

Jawed might have stated it in a more concise manner, but we couldn’t locate the video (link here, YouTube says that the video has been taken down by the user). We could locate a GigaOm review of a similar lecture.

Basically the heuristic is this: Follow your field very carefully, and track the emergence or progress of technologies that suddenly make new things “possible”. In YouTube’s case, this was ‘a confluence of broadband penetration, Flash 7, digital cameras and phones, and cheap bandwidth’ (Source:GigaOm).

One use case: Facebook became possible, only because the proliferation of digital cameras and other consumer technologies made the content very, very interesting compared to the past.

So if you track things that make new things possible, you can be a maker of those new things. Simple heuristic, but often ignored.

For Interesting Statistics Everyday, Find Statspotting on Facebook and Follow Statspotting on Twitter

2 Comments for “PG’s ‘Startup Ideas’ Post: One Missing Heuristic”

  1. Juan J. Ramirez

    Another good example is Foursquare. Dennis Crowley is always recalling the fact that Dodgeball (his first startup) was a basic version of the 4SQ concept. After DB was acquired by Google, he started 4SQ which was in simple words the smartphone version of Dodgeball (WAP App). He just was only waiting for the right conditions to scale his product to a more usable level.

    Good Article!

Leave a Reply