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“Can I share something with you?”
“Yeah, go on mate!”
“This is *whispering* Top Secret stuff okay?”
“I have a big idea!”
“Oh, here we go, again”
“What? What’s the matter?”
“You see, this is not the first time that you have come up to me for an opinion with yet another big idea right?
“So… do you not see it? I don’t want to be rude, but all of your ideas have been consistently either boring, already tried and succeeded or failed, or they are just another idea that you conveniently found on Quora”
“…And you think they are not original enough.”
“Do you know how difficult it is to find unique startup ideas in today’s digital age with so much saturation out there?”
“If you would just…”
“If you think I’m unoriginal, why don’t you come up with a startup idea for once?”
“Are you done?”
“I don’t know man, I don’t like getting my ideas rejected over a cup of chai, for sure.”
“You get rejected every time. Still, you chose to come to me for opinions. I’m assuming that is because you want someone to tell you what you need to listen not what you want to listen, right?
“I guess, yeah”
“Well, then, listen. Ideas are not something you find on looking for, they come to you when you think about something. When we look at already successful brands that were startups once, we always want to get ‘inspiration’ from their business model and want to copy it for our business ideas. What we forget to always look at is context, the market, the need of the hour, the gaps that existed back when they pioneered the space by filling that gap.”
“I’m trying to understand, but an example would be such a help”
“Sure. See, a food home delivery app is a good startup idea (clearly) but not if you start it today. It was game changing when we had none. Foodpanda had the monopoly but the arrival of Zomato disrupted their market. Later, Swiggy filled the gap of tracking the delivery executive. People migrated. Now they all have their own individual audiences with their individual needs. You constantly upgrade and hold on to that success, till you can.
There is a right time to launch your startup but never a wrong time to get an idea for one. You will get an idea while driving, showering, walking, at work in a meeting, or while pooping”
“Hey, you wanted examples! Do you know the net worth of Jaquar, Roca and other bathroom part suppliers in India, or their market share for supplying your bidet hose, the butt shower that you use every morning?”
“Got your point, no need to rub it on my arse. I’d rather have you continue your idea monologue”
“Okay, when you came here for the chai, were you awake?”
“Umm… I drove here. I think that comes with a prerequisite of not sleeping”
“Right. Let me rephrase that though, were you aware, on your way here?”
“Hmm. I would like to say yes, but I know I’m wrong. Get to your point.”
“To look for problems, you don’t have to find problems to be in. If you become more aware of your surroundings, open your senses for every time situations are throwing ideas at you, you would have a lot of them by now. We put some things on auto-pilot as soon as we start doing them repeatedly. Our subconscious takes hold of these tasks and you will not have to do any deliberate and conscious thinking for them. Perfect examples would be driving to work, waking up and brushing, typing, and so on. Now if you are busy thinking about why you don’t have any idea, look around, maybe you can solve the traffic issue by notifying people of a crash or a slowdown.
Before you think of it, it is already implemented by Google Maps. So, no.”
“Dammit, you know me too well.”
“I’m not proud of it”
“Would you ever speak any good of me?”
“It is as surprising for me as it is going to be for you but there are some things that you are doing right.”
“I’m all ears”
“Few of the right things you are doing is that you are talking to people. I’m aware that you were asking for opinions from Anushri for your dating app for cats idea. Talking to more and more industry professionals, experts and fellow entrepreneurs could be more helpful than consultancies. I can assure you would get more insight from the chaiwallah here, who has more business acumen than any MBA graduate.
I know you have been reading a lot of Eric Ries books and keeping yourself updated of the startup world by having all the knowledge of which startup failed and which one succeeded and why. Although… OH MY GOD, WOULD YOU NOT LOOK AT YOUR PHONE WHEN I’M TALKING WITH YOU! I swear all men are like this.”
“Hey, I am taking notes, you are making a lot of sense”
“Oh.. Well… Good, that’s what I was expecting. Sorry for the unnecessary misandry there”
“I understand. You were saying, I read books but…”
“Yes. you do read all this startup literature but I suggest you should read more of something that interests you, which is not about your work. This will widen your horizon and let you look at the world through different perspectives and you could get a problem to solve- creatively.
Before your chai goes cold, I’ll stop talking. But since you are taking notes on your phone which I hope you are, I would suggest you invest in a small diary so that you never lose the record of any idea you might have. Later on, digitize it at home on Google Sheets and that is exactly when you introspect your day and you might even want to list down the list of problems that you had throughout the day. This practice will help you marinate your thoughts which will mature to transform into ideas sooner or later. Honestly, that is what I do, and it works.”
“Hey, today’s chai is on me. Thanks for such good insight and…”
“Hey no worries, I have already paid for the chai through this app. I’ll see you next time with a better idea?”
“Haha, sure! I’m developing a liking for this constant burn you keep on giving me”
— by Manas, Content Strategist, Slangbusters Studio