Reading List: The way to get startup ideas

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The first rule of Fight Club is, well, you know.  So it perhaps is no surprise that the way to get startup ideas is not to try to think of startup ideas.  So says no less an authority than Paul Graham in this engaging essay, and it’s pretty tough to argue with him. If you are looking for a startup idea, it’s a good place to start.

The very best startup ideas, Graham says, have three things in common:

they’re something the founders themselves want, that they themselves can build, and that few others realize are worth doing.

As Graham says, when you focus on finding a good startup idea, instead of solving a problem, you end up with a sitcom startup: something big and interesting enough that it sounds like a lot of people might use it, but it turns out no one does.  Instead, Graham suggests you try to live in the near future and look around for little things that are missing. But if you do, as Brad Feld has pointed out, you might not want to start with a jetsonesque jetpack.