Startup Ideas: A Simple But Powerful Heuristic

November 30, 2012 8:46 am

In many cases, a process can easily be split into two parts. Now here is a simple heuristic:

1. Spell out the process, detailing the two parts as much as you can.
2. Just Swap the two parts in the process.
3. What you see could be a solid startup idea staring at you.

Two examples:

1. Priceline. The process is split as follows: a. Ticketing intermediaries negotiate prices with airlines b. Passengers check if they can afford the price, and buy if they can.
If you swap the two, you are looking at Priceline’s model.

2. Another recent example is Cucumbertown. The recipe lookup and cooking process is split as follows: a. Find out the recipe for the dish you want. b. See what is required to prepare it, and buy it, and prepare the dish.
Swap the two, and you have one feature of the site – this is the stuff I have at home now, what dish can I prepare with these?

A simple heuristic, but very powerful.

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