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If you are anything like me, you are constantly thinking about a new idea. All you want to do is to go buy that new domain, hook it up to a VPS and set up a high-performing website and claim all those social media profiles.

This can be really exciting, but it can also be difficult to keep track of at times. And it takes a lot of time and money, and most of the time we don’t even get to finish our projects because something else comes along which seem more exciting.

 

Instead of building every idea I come up with I want to validate that it is a strategically smart move to do so.  However validating a business idea can be a really heavy process on its own. Therefore it can sometimes be enough to just let the idea sit a while to see if it is still exciting after some time.

This is how I organize and handle my ideas

  • I create a list on Trello, called “Ideas”
    (I keep this list on the very left of my boards, so it is ready to type when I open Trello’s iOS app).
  • Every time I get an idea I create card for this idea
  • If possible, I title it along the lines of “x for y” e.g. “Airbnb for boats”.
    This helps get an overview when browsing ideas later on.
  • I open the card and add any useful information to describe the concept, without going into too much detail.
  • I let the card sit for a week or so
    (this is the important part, making sure it is also interesting after the initial excitement)
  • If I cannot stop thinking about the idea I will open the card and start researching the specific parts that I feel is different than the current solutions out there.

If I find any existing solutions, technologies or ways to deal with the same challenge I am trying to solve, I add it to the card.

Remember you can use markdown in Trello cards. It can be really helpful to layout your information when you add a lot of stuff to the cards.

If the research shows that the idea is worth spending time on and there is a market I will discuss the idea with some friends to get some perspective.

Specifically asking for feedback on what might not work out or what sort of things would make this a bad idea, can really help open your eyes to obstacles or even opportunities to fix something that hasn’t been fixed before.

There are two great ways to get this constructive feedback (read: not praise but actual useful feedback).

  1. Ask a friend you know can be critical and detail oriented and ask him specifically to tear down the idea for a day or two and get back to you with everything he sees as a problem. Give him explicit permission to be negative, most people will avoid it otherwise.
  2. Write a Post-mortem (meaning after death) for your idea.
    What went wrong?
    Why did your idea not turn out like you hoped?
    What assumptions did you make that did not turn out how you expected (an important question to ask yourself before starting anything)?
    What goals didn’t you achieve? Why?

Remember all this is before even working on the idea.

You are just trying to find out if it is worth investigating more…

I hope you get a lot of ideas and learn how to deal with the pressure of feeling to have to execute on them all.

Build something that matters.

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