startups i'm working on...

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.

  1. 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. 
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.
  6. “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:

  1. List a target market that you care about – preferably one you are part of 
  2. Note down all the problems they are experiencing, INDEPENDENT of existing solutions. Think more generally vs specifically.
  3. 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):

  1. Do some “napkin-math” to see if the idea is worth pursuing (blog post coming soon, for now, see here)
  2. Check for domain names – see if someone has thought of this
  3. 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)
  4. If nobody seems to be, explore the idea further to see if a community exists and if someone mentions the same problem
  5. Explore the business and startup canvases (google business model canvas)
  6. Consider the idea from a PM lens: “What could the MVP look like?”
  7. Think about partners and influencers that might participate
  8. 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!

startups I'm building the MVP for...

The Problem: No consistent place to store the small tasks I intend to do daily

Hypothesized Solution: A web app with a simple UX where I can type in all my tasks for the day, and check them off when done

startups I'm actively considering...

The Problem: Founders feel alone, VC's don't know where the founders are. Cheerleading is needed much.

Hypothesized Solution: 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)

The Problem: Founders/Startups don't have any insight into what investors are thinking when pitch decks are reviewed. Investors also don't have a good workflow to receive pitch decks.

Hypothesized Solution: A marketplace where founders can submit pitches, and angels can give feedback over video/audio and then founders can record video feedback and submit revisions

startups that are just an idea...

The Problem: I use multiple apps and methods to publish, note, and journal

Hypothesized Solution: An app that connects to the other apps that I use like Gdocs, Notion, WordPress, knows what kind of content I'm publishing, and updates those target documents automatically. Sort of a virtual secretary. Powered by AI of course.

The Problem: Commenting with keyboard is slow and painful

Hypothesized Solution: A desktop utility that watches the app you use (Slack, Discord, FB, LinkedIn, etc), lets you record an audio file, transcribes and automatically posts a text reply and a link to the audio file

The Problem: VC's have trouble finding promising early-stage founders

Hypothesized Solution: Instead of launching a community, course, or saas event, hire a professional "founder scout" at founderscouts.com. Founder Scouts are professional founder finders that join startup communities and identify promising founding teams that don't yet have a voice.

The Problem: Job seekers don't have good ways to track their job applications

Hypothesized Solution: A virtual assistant that tracks your application progress by email, gives you insight into what resumes work and don't work, and which versions of your resume seem to be working best

The Problem: Getting someone to sign an NDA is a pain

Hypothesized Solution: Use video and AI to virtually interview someone

The Problem: I want an easy way to digitize and reference my daily journaling. I love journaling, but archiving and finding stuff is a pain.

Hypothesized Solution: Daily Wins to the rescue. Journal to your heart's content, and then send your journals in to be digitized, transcribed (cause we can do that now thanks to Amazon) and placed on the internet forever.

The Problem: Most landlords need credit history and proof of income to get a rental

Hypothesized Solution: A third party identity and credit management company that builds a professional "rental resume" that you can share with a potential landlord

The Problem: Where are the product podcasts?

Hypothesized Solution: Just a podcast..

The Problem: Building custom web apps is difficult. You need a Designer and Engineer and have to invest a tonne of money to get something standing up.

Hypothesized Solution: An app that you build programmatically - an abstraction layer that sits above your application that lets codify the business logic. A custom SDK for business logic that uses AI to assist.

The Problem: What if you own an electric car and are far from home or at work? And you are low on charge and there are no chargers around?

Hypothesized Solution: Enable homeowners to create a charging station lane by signing up, getting an installation, and completing their profile using an app. The home owner pays nothing for an installation (or buys it outright) and earns a residual income above their cost of electricity. Both the home owner and EC earns a cut. and the customer pays for the electricity cost.

The Problem: Mock interviews are either expensive to train (you have to signup) or are hard to schedule

Hypothesized Solution: An Uber for Mock interviews. You signup, start mocking one time for free, and then invite others on to the platform to do more mock interviews.

The Problem: There are so many brilliant founders around, but no easy place to collaborate on ideas

Hypothesized Solution: A community platform where you work on startup ideas by contributing your knowledge and market insight, and gain points that can convert into equity later - should the idea go to market

The Problem: I would love to watch a video with friends and pause easily

Hypothesized Solution: An app where we can vote on a video, watch, have it pause automatically based on audio, and record the commentary

The Problem: Companies occassiionally need to crowdsource data collection

Hypothesized Solution: A service companies can engage that connects their request with crowds

The Problem: When you join a TG group.. its hard to see all the pinned messages and understand their context

Hypothesized Solution: Having a single web document with all pinned posts available to view in one screen would be great

The Problem: No website to share/collab on low-fidelity wireframes

Hypothesized Solution: Like Behance, but organized by category/tags and more searchable. Ability to import/export/sync with existing tools

The Problem: Tagging contacts with my own custom tagging system isn't possible on LinkedIn

Hypothesized Solution: A browser plugin that lets me tag someone on LinkedIn and add to a simple CRM

The Problem: Installing content gets easier all the time in WordPress with sophisticated page editors. Optimizing for conversions is still slow and manual.

Hypothesized Solution: AI/ML that does the content creating, selecting and optimizing all on its own using data to drive decisions. Like Datamilk but for WordPress.

The Problem: How do you send someone in the metaverse a long document without exposing your identity and yet ensuring only they can see it?

Hypothesized Solution: An online document sharing tool where the sender has to sign with their wallet, and the reciever's wallet address is required to descrypt?

The Problem: First-time founders make a lot of the same mistakes over and over

Hypothesized Solution: A multi-level puzzle game where users can drag/drop puzzle pieces in the order they believe is correct, and then see their results against others and experts

The Problem: Keeping my social profile updated sucks. This is partly why Twitter works. No profile needed.

Hypothesized Solution: An AI that goes out and looks at all of my social profiles, modifies my profile description as I change, and then asks me once a month if I want to keep it updated

The Problem: People can't see ALL the NFTs in crypto in one place and buy them

Hypothesized Solution: A multi-chain NFT global marketplace that takes care of cross-chain swap fees, gas, and presents buyers with a single website to view, and buy NFTs

The Problem: Streamers, broadcasters, and odcasters don't have a good way to run an AMA quickly and instantly

Hypothesized Solution: "tinyURL" for AMAs - A purpose-built AMA app where anyone can launch and manage an AMA. Simple as tinyURL, easy as Google Docs, easy as Tweeting

The Problem: Hard to network with everyone in a Zoom meeting

Hypothesized Solution: An app that automatically collects linkedin URLs and puts everyone into a chat room

The Problem: Viewers watching live events online don't get an intimate experience of the event. Event organizers are the only broadcasters of live events and are often unable to provide this intimate experience

Hypothesized Solution: A mobile app that lets anyone (vetted by event organizers) attending in-person events, broadcast their own version of the event to the event page (hosted on Streamcake).

The Problem: It's difficult to keep constant track of my stock portfolio and to setup stop loss entries

Hypothesized Solution: A mobile-first trading app that automatically sets up a stop loss entry for a pre-determined threshold

startups that I retired...

The Problem: Makeup artists have no obvious way to build their site, get clients, and grow their business

Hypothesized Solution: A one-stop directory, agency, community, LMS, and more

The Problem: Communities and social apps are broken. Users join, rarely engage, and are left participating in conversations that don't matter.

Hypothesized Solution: The entire idea of social media needs a reboot. I'm starting by building a direct competitor to Slack, Discord, and FB groups. If you want more info, visit goodmingl.com.

The Problem: People can't find a list of DAOs

Hypothesized Solution: A public directory of DAOs

Existing Clients

Go here to access client training programs and private content.

After hours...

When I’m not at my desk working Entrepreneurs, I pass the time readingbuilding and brainstorming startups, whiteboarding, and occasionally, playing a bit of billiards.

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