It starts with an idea

7 07 2006

So the first question that people who intend to start businesses think about is: what is my idea?

The bold truth is that ideas are a dime a dozen.

I was trained and came to believe early on that you can make money doing anything – it’s just a matter of how much and how easily. You could make money selling bags of pet food over the Internet, but you are sure going to have a hard time doing it.

That being said, good ideas are not a dime a dozen. But there certainly are enough of them to go around, especially in this new Internet, web and mobile-enabled environment.

The most obvious and time-trained idea generator is to solve a problem that you have or you observe in your line of work or in your everyday life. The business piece that might take some time to develop is to create a business model (a way to make money eventually) around solving your problem. For certain problems, this simply does not exist, but for many, many more, that business model is simply yet to be discovered. Google was a great solution, but became a great business after AdWords.

Sometimes this just comes after putting two and two together. GoTo.com and Overture had already pioneered paid search – all Google had to do was to realize that unobstrusive text links would not alienate search users, but create a powerful new business model. As they say, the rest is history. Admittedly, the ability to spot these connections comes with experience and a solid knowledge of existing business models.

Ideas and their true potential are also relative to each other. Every idea has some potential – the question is how much. For each entrepreneur, it is your decision where you draw the line of “this idea has enough potential”.

The next question is: how much will it cost or how will I make this happen? This is where most people fall down. True entrepreneurs know how to make this leap. In all honestly, you are not an entrepreneur if you are unable to cross this boundary. Don’t fear though: there should be no shame in starting small – just don’t think small. Ideally, a first-time entrepreneur wants a business that is cheap or easy to start, but with at least some reasonable market that you can tap into – the Internet enables that these days.

The question then becomes: do you have it in you to find an idea that you love that you can reasonably implement? The answer is most often a resounding yes if you’ve gotten this far. But the much more important question is: do you have what it takes to make it happen?

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Come on in, the water is warm!

7 07 2006

Start up in San Diego is my first personal/business blog.

What interests me most:

– Start up and entreneurship experiences that can help others in their journey

– New and interesting start-up ventures. You could term this Web 2.0 reviews, but I’m most interesting in applications that have the potential to hit modern culture in big ways – in the process, changing the world at times but also at other times just altering it or skewing it slightly.

– Observations or contradictions that others may find entertaining. Living in Southern California doing a dynamic start up brings its own adventures and contradictions. If I think people will be entertained by it, I’ll share it.

My main success thus far has been NetMagazines.com. I’m proud of the accomplishments here by becoming one of the top three dedicated magazine subscription sites on the Internet.

I graduated from the University of Washington with a BS degree in Computer Science. When I was attending, I believe we were #7 in the nation for Comp Sci and Comp Engineering – beating out most heavyweight schools in the process. The experience there was invaluable – a great learning experience is when you are truly humbled by the brilliance of those presenting the topics to you.

I’m working on a new start up built on Ruby on Rails, a web framework that is #1 right now in fostering Internet start-ups – something I’m all for and will continue to advocate for. I will not write about anything overly technical here – that is not at all my intention for this blog. I’ll save the technospeak for those far more experienced to go over all nitty, gritty details.

My new start up is a new consumer application. It is forthcoming – look for the details!