The most creative people beneath us do nothing different than constantly combining existing ideas and solutions.
Many times people approached me with their great ideas, saying they had no time to realize the idea themselves. In this moment I often knew what would follow next…
»Wouldn’t it be a possibility to sell the idea to someone wanting to found a start-up but doesn’t have an idea?«
See, the problem with this has two dimensions. First, someone who is not able to think of a business idea himself is probably so unqualified to be an entrepreneur that he would even fail with the best idea one can possibly have. That being said, we as the vendor of the idea do not really care about this problematic. If it wasn’t the effect of another fact. Having a good idea for a start-up is by far the easiest part of the whole process of founding a company. This makes good business ideas pretty worthless – you can find them everywhere. Why this is the case is explained in this blog post.
Some of you have maybe heard the expression:
“Combine two great things and the result will be even better”
I regularly say this when I transform my burger with fries on the side into a burger with fries inside.
The same principle can be applied to the most valuable business ideas. Uber is nothing else than a combination of the taxi business and the principle of ebay (every person can offer and demand products). MyTaxi is a combination of Amazon (professional marketplace) and the taxi business. Ebay + taxi = Uber … Amazon + taxi = myTaxi. That doesn’t sound very complicated.
Obviously this logic has boundaries. A very good steak with really delicious vanilla ice cream on top does not sound very promising. Again, this can be transferred to business ideas as well. Ebay + taxi was a good idea, so why not exchange the taxis for bikes, one of the best inventions of our society? But a marketplace where bikers can give rides to others so they can get from A to B is obviously stupid.
It gets interesting when ideas are not obviously stupid. Google glass for example, a combination of glasses and a screen sounded very promising, but has never succeeded. The same could have happened to Uber or MyTaxi. No one knew that those ideas would create such big impact. Those of you who are interested in finding out more about why some start-ups succeed and others not should watch the following Ted Talk:
In my opinion, having a great idea or spotting a potential is no rocket science. The more difficult part is finding out as fast as possible if potentials are really promising and if ideas are really great or not. And this is not achievable by thinking things through or without investing a lot of time, but only with a lot of hard and customer oriented work.
More about that in the next blog post.