I’m always thinking about startups. On this page I have listed many of the ideas I have come up with over the past few years. Most of the projects listed here never become anything more than an idea. Some take an initial shape (often a doc and domain), and a few even go to market or are being worked on now.
P.S. Thanks to Ivy Xu for some of the points below from her podcast.
- Pay attention to your own problems – this is by far the bulk of the ideas on this page. Whenever you see a problem in the world, note it down and then brainstorm around what a solution might be.
- Niche down – think of an existing industry where you might be able to identify a niche. For example, food delivery apps but for Seniors, or Fitness tracking apps for HIIT enthusiasts, or Travel tips app for Japanese students learning English
- Old problem / New problem / Old solution / New solution – Map each of these on a 2×2 matrix and then use it to brainstorm. The one to avoid is old problem / old solution. You can come up with lots of great ideas with this matrix.
- Productize an existing service that’s normally customized – for example building websites is often a “custom quote”. Find a way to package it into products people can buy.
- Bundling/Unbundling – think about ways to bundle stuff together. For example with bundling, bed and breakfast (house + food), all-inclusive travel packages (air, hotel, taxi, food), all-inclusive website (building, hosting, security, reports) and more. Unbundling examples could be with mobile – you can buy a phone without a plan, or selling individual MP3s vs the whole album. More about this concept here.
- “Not Not test” – Adopted from Merrick Furst, ideate by asking the question: what would our potential target market say to themselves “I cannot not buy this!”. So for example with shopping online, a service that ships nearly anything to you for free for a monthly free. Sound familiar? Yep, that’s Amazon Prime.
How to use these ideation frameworks:
- List a target market that you care about – preferably one you are part of
- Note down all the problems they are experiencing, INDEPENDENT of existing solutions. Think more generally vs specifically.
- Go through each of the frameworks described above and ideate
Need more help? I encourage you to listen to Ivy Xu for more inspiration.
Here is my process (post the initial idea):
- Do some “napkin-math” to see if the idea is worth pursuing (blog post coming soon, for now, see here)
- Check for domain names – see if someone has thought of this
- Research to find out if someone else is building this already. If they are, visit their site and “glean” what they discovered and (often) what they missed (its ridiculously easy to get off track in startups)
- If nobody seems to be, explore the idea further to see if a community exists and if someone mentions the same problem
- Explore the business and startup canvases (google business model canvas)
- Consider the idea from a PM lens: “What could the MVP look like?”
- Think about partners and influencers that might participate
- Think about the Wizard of Oz version of the startup
At this point, if I get a good feeling and think it’s worth pursuing, I start the heavy lifting like
- looking for potential teammates and co-founders
- joining communities (there is a community for everything)
- reading blogs
- joining email newsletters
- asking on reddit for some pointers to resources
- listening to podcasts
- developing a mission/vision (something new that I’m working more on)
- and most important of all: finding and talking to customers to get a deeper sense of their interest and pain frequency
If I can stomach all of this customer and market research, and I’m still excited by the problem (I often stop being somewhere in the research), then I know I’m on to something that’s a great product/market/founder fit (google it.. its a thing).
In the past, (prior to becoming a product manager), I would have jumped headfirst into building the thing. Nowadays, I “front-run” problem discovery, customer surveys, and team building instead.
So that’s a little about my process.. enjoy the list!
33 startup Ideas published
A social video watching app
I just finished my first video with Teresa on Exponent and thought.. hmm.. wouldn't it be great if we watched a video together and could share/comment?
How to create virality: You invite friends and the only way for them to become users and launch their own popsicle is that you have to first do a video with them and then earn a certain score. The score is calculated on the number of pauses, re-starts, sounds recorded during (laugh, cry, talk, etc) etc.
Users that get more popsicles can invite more users to the platform. The users can also sell invites if they like and earn a cut too.
> Ideation - from personal experience
> Product design
> Potential users and pain points
> Prioritization focused on PMF
> Building a team
> Roadmapping and tactical work
> Measuring and Iterating
Each of these steps are eventually in the wheelhouse of a good PM and I think 90% of aspiring PMs don't have the skills or understanding of how to do this. This could easily be a course + live 1:1 or live group consults.
Expected outcome: Aspiring PM goes through each of each of these stages, they learn PM work in real-life and then showcase that on their social/resume
A social app where founders post their “daily wins” sharing their updates which get shared socially and openly, and then VCs can “cheer on” founders with a quick tweet, or video, or audio message. Basically Twitter, but for a specific subset of users (founders and investors)
Born out of this idea
Watching Justin Kan roast pitches got me thinking this is something startups/founders would LOVE to have.
Monetization: Double-sided. Founders pay a small one-time fee to upload their decks into a “pitch room”. This small fee ensures the marketplace remains clean. Investors pay a higher fee to see new decks and engage with founders.
- Founders can record a short video and walk through the deck
- Investors can follow investment categories that interest them
- Founders can upload revisions and investors can re-watch if they want
- Both parties can discuss and interact in private video chat rooms – both sync and async
- Pitch designers, consultants, writers, marketers and others can join as service providers and offer their freelance skills
- Both parties can create teams and invite them into pitch rooms
- Investors can create investor-related notes and grade startups
- Social media integration (FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc) so that founders can share startup updates by tagging their social posts with a special tag
- Analytics so that founders know which deck slides had the most/least engagement
- Importing (one-way only) slides by sharing the slide URL (Google, Figma, and others)
- Automatic revision history and ability to set decks to Draft/Publish
- Investors, with founder permission, can save their feedback videos
- If above, PitchRoaster can publish feedback videos on the PitchRoaster website
- Startups can create different types of review rooms – one for friends and family, one for professional investors
- A less “controversial” domain name that startups can use if they don’t like “Pitch Roaster”. Could also register “ReviewMyPitch.com” and have the platform source code duplicated there. Fees would be higher there and the branding/style would be different.
- Founders can “theme” their pitch rooms with their preferred style/color/graphics/font etc.
Go to market strategy:
Anyone, in theory, could review a deck. A professor, a teacher, an “adult”, writer, a Senior Professional, a junior investor, friends and so on. I would start with letting startups post their pitches for free and then let them invite anyone they want into review rooms. They can create as many rooms as they want and even allow room members to interact if they like.
Once startups are on the platform, professional investors will show up without any platform marketing efforts (startups will invite them over anyway).
Instantly run an AMA for your live event without logging in
An online app where anyone can instantly launch an AMA for their live online conversation or stream they broadcast on Twitter, Youtube, Twitch, etc.
Register, Publish, Share
I’m listening to a conversation by @sabakarimm and @danhightowerjr right now. Most of these social apps have some kind of conversation mechanism built in – usually a chat stream or re-tweet. This is OK, but it’s not a great user experience. Why doesn’t Twitter have an AMA built in? Why don’t these broadcasters run AMA’s more? Is it a user experience problem? Is it app overwhelm? Why don’t they have an AMA room where they share links, ideas, notes, etc?
A simple CRM that has a browser plugin so that I can tag contacts in LinkedIn.
Tagging is a start. But what about followup? Or what about when they accept my friend request? Or if they don't? You don't get their contact info until they do. What if you msg them? Are they more valuable? Can "value" of the contact be tracked without my intervention (based on # and quality of msg exchange for example)? And then when it comes to using these contacts, can I run form emails or letters? Or maybe even using something like rephrase.ai to produce full blown funnel pages?
Got a potentially good domain name EasyAsPieCRM.com "The CRM that takes 30 seconds to learn."
Why can’t LinkedIn just go and look at all my other social sites, write up something about me using AI and keep my profile updated at all times? Someone should build that.
The internet needs a list of DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) for the Web 3 natives. I would love to join one, but there doesn’t seem to be a single place I can go where I can see a list of daos. It’s an easy problem to solve, but not necessarily easy to populate.
Update: This project has launched here.
Came up with the idea of a DAO directory when thinking about where to find them.
GoodMingl is a community platform powered by AI. We aim to replace the Community Manager with an AI that handles onboarding, automated introductions, discussion finding, and generates deep user insight for community owners.
Something I applied to YCombinator with in late 2020. More info here
Just finished a zoom webinar with Jason Calacanis and Adeo Ressi and saw that everyone was sharing their LinkedIn URLs. The tech writer in me couldn’t resist. I just had to make a google doc and share it with everyone that attended. So I did here: https://bit.ly/3EFxRpz
I thought to myself: “Why doesn’t someone invent a virtual zoom attendee that you invite to a zoom meeting that does this automatically?”
- Collects everyone’s LinkedIn
- Sends a DM to everyone and shares a post-zoom link that everyone can visit to chat, talk, connect after
This isn’t the first time I have thought about this. Similar here.
COVID has stopped people from gathering. In the future, people will want to watch events from the comfort of their own home. Watchers will want to feel like they are at the event. Traditionally streams are broadcast from show and event organizers. The viewer experience is highly tailored and edited.
Streamcake is a new way to broadcast your in-person event by letting selected event attendees broadcast from their mobile. Community broadcasters can stream their own version of the event to your unique Streamcake landing page.
This let’s viewers choose their own viewing experience by watching the stream that they enjoy.
Broadcasters can interact with watchers, share select insight, and give their own unique point of view of your event.
There are too many competing crypto networks, each with its own protocol and chain. This is good for innovation but bad for buyers that want to just buy NFTs. In order to buy NFTs, you need to hold tokens on each platform, and then learn how to perform transactions. This is silly. Someone should make a multi-chain platform where you can buy NFTs on ANY network.
I need a place to store my daily todos and minor activities. Something lighter than Trello, but heavier than notepad (my current implementation). Just a place to quickly jot down what’s on my plate today, and check them off when done. I don’t need due dates, or tagging, or task assignment or sharing. Just something very small that lets me check stuff off and maybe a way to see what I didn’t get to yesterday. A mobile app would be nice. A desktop app could be cool.
Originally a domain name registered without a specific idea in place. I recently thought about a potential idea that could be interested to build/launch. Based on this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54_3_GMjFws, maybe this site can be an online educational game where founders drag/drop puzzle pieces around, and then submit their proposal. Each of the puzzle pieces would represent a specific step in building startups. After submission, the user would get to see how most other users voted, how they rank against experts, and then learn more about specific steps.
This idea is based on this: https://share.doppler.com. With doppler, you can expire shared documents after x views or x days/weeks. This is a neat idea. But what if we could sign a document with a Metamask wallet, and then also (optionally) specify the wallet addresses that are allowed to view the document? That would be a very novel way of sending documents, sharing files, sharing copywritten works and more.
Like Datamilk but for WordPress with tighter integration with 3rd party WP tools like Elementor, Divi, Gutenberg, etc. Also, instead of modifying whole pages, letting the site owner pick/choose the data they want to modify. For example, hero headline copy, number of Elementor rows, row duplication, etc. Also smarter font resizing. Future capability to completely replace Elementor with it’s own native content AI machine that lets me build a page using just a handful of content rows. Automatic optimization of course.
Would be nice if I could just include 1 shortcode on an empty WordPress page, and let the AI build/create based on the content I input/provide. For example, I give the AI some images and copy that I want to see on a page, and it goes and builds the page automatically and with some manual input like copy style, manual voting, etc.
Behance for low-fidelity wireframes where users can comment, markup, discuss, collaborate, share, save, import/export.
I'm doing some wireframes now for a project, and was looking for wireframes that handle a specific area of my wireframe (adding filters)
A TG bot that collates all the pinned posts into a single document
Could a business exist to connect crowds with data needs?
I have been running this ideas board for a few weeks now. It's great, but I would love to collaborate on ideas with others. Maybe have live group meetings to work on specific artifacts like a canvas or something.
Viral component - the more people you invite, the more mocks you get to run. You can create your own private mock groups, or find public groups that you can join. The app automatically assigns mocks with people above, at and above your skill or experience level based on a shared calculation at the end of the mock. Who was more experienced? Who was less experienced?
I got this idea from watching Liam Bolling talk about resumes at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1Bbl8QBd6I. He gave some good tips about what questions to ask yourself when thinking about resume bullets. I wanted to drop those notes down into a Google doc that I'm keeping (I should probably move to notion at some point I suppose).
I first registered the domain after having prior experience working with a client, Julie Brown, a makeup artist
I placed the project on hold due to personal circumstances
I restarted the project as I still didn't see any competitors entering this area of business
Idea inception thinking about working with Jason Calacanis at Launch as a social media manager. How would I possibly comment on all these platforms? Typing is so slow. There has to be a better way. How about a little app (windows/mac) that sees the app I use, and then posts a reply for me by transcribing my audio response. That would be amazing and a real time saver.
Idea inception thinking about the VC and startup ecosystem. I love startups and founder. I wonder if a marketplace of this kind could exist where people are paid as a professional founder scout.
I'm tracking my job applications in a very primitive way right now. I'm using google docs and a folder. I name each resume with the title of the JD. If I get rejected, I note down "rejected" on the file name. It's primitive, but it works well enough. Sure would be nice if I could hire an assistant to do this.
Thinking about the painful process of developing an NDA, and then sending to someone to sign it. Why can't we do this over video?
Selling pre-formatted journal blanks makes sense. For example, a box to lock/unlock your pages so that you can share privately, and an another section to enter the journal date.
Amazon Textract to the rescue
An idea I thought about a few years ago when I was trying to move to another rental but the most significant barrier is lack of employment proof.
Thinking about this as watch the webflow interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkJPxDgUGMA.