I was watching my son’s lacrosse game with an old friend, Paul. We had not seen or talked in years but like old friends, we immediately picked up where we left off and started laughing and sharing ideas. We were talking about some of the great ideas we had missed in our lives and were still kicking ourselves over our stupidity. But… a VC had just drawn Paul a picture that really helped solidify the definition of a good idea so we would never miss one again:
All good ideas are at the intersection of seems like a good idea and seems like a bad idea. Take any really successful company and imagine the pitch they made to the VC. If everyone in the room said it was a good idea likely there were loads of people trying to execute on the same idea. If everyone in the room said it was a bad idea then probably it was close to impossible to execute. But… if you had people on both sides they you might really have something. Twitter sounded stupid, we are going to make a phone app that is just like SMS but better, Instagram, we are going to let people publish pictures after applying a short set of canned filters to the pictures, Facebook we are going to create an online way for college students to meet each other… all of these you can imagine people falling on both sides of the argument, apparently that was a leading indicator.
Here are a couple of other examples in this blog: http://dcurt.is/what-a-stupid-idea
The moral of the story, pick an idea that is not too far fetched for people to believe is possible but is sufficiently unique to make them stop and look. In other words, not time travel nor business services for food trucks but a new form of insurance that works like a cooperative, like a credit union, wait that has been done already…