Monday, April 14, 2008

Criteria for a BIG Idea: Pain Eliminator

I always had this mantra in mind "All I need is just one BIG idea to get rich". For Bill Gates it was the vision of his operating system on personal desktop computers. For the Google founders the big idea was the search engine and eventually AdSense. For YouTube it was video posting. The problem is how do I know if the idea I had in mind is a BIG one.

In my desire to eventually be a startup, I bought books from and my favorite was this book "Micro-ISV: From Vision to Reality" by Bob Walsh. I still am not finished with the book now as of this post date. One of the things that really struck me from Chapter 1 was this one criteria advised by Joel Spolsky, when it comes to evaluating ideas for software products: It must eliminate a pain. If it can't eliminate a pain, nobody is gonna shell out money for it. For Skype it was long-distance phone bills. For Google it was the pain of being not satisfied with search results from other existing engines. When I first used Google, I was happy that they produced the right results I was looking for. Though people do not pay for it, this was the reason they became popular, and eventually they had AdWords/AdWords for profit. AdWords eliminated the pain of not being found in the first page of the search results. For YouTube, first it was the difficulty of broadcasting your video on the web and secondly getting it noticed. Because it is a site focused on one type of content, YouTube was able to position themselves as the buzzword when it comes to online video content and people began to use it to upload their videos and eventually became the search engine for the video clips.

The thing is, I have to define what pain will my software or product eliminate. The pain must be something basic or something that really bothers and burdens my target market. If the idea eliminates a pain that's not that nagging, my product would just be doodad to my clients.

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