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07.31.08

Awesome Startup Ideas

By Brajeshwar Oinam

Iím already late on this one, but hell, I was busy with our own startup. Today was a rather dull day, a bit down, sorta bored and there ainít anything interesting in the Inbox. Nothing of those emails that you can show around with your team and laugh, smile; the back-pain also suddenly hit me for some reason. Even George Carlin - Modern Man, though good, wasnít enough to bring me back to the usual life.

What more better time than to read something to inspire, to steal and to spawn. So, I dugg up one of Paul Grahamís recently popular article about the Startup Ideas theyíd Like to Fund. If youíre startup-ing or thinking to innovate (pun intended), head over there and spend sometime.

Out of all his awesome ideas, some which really caught my fancy are:

Outsourced IT: In most companies the IT department is an expensive bottleneck. Getting them to make you a simple web form could take months. Something like Wufoo (I use it religiously in lieu of plugins and other scripts). Now if the marketing department wants to put a form on the web, they can do it themselves in 5 minutes. You can take practically anything users still depend on IT departments for and base a startup on it, and you will have the enormous force of their present dissatisfaction pushing you forward.

Enterprise software 2.0: Enterprise software companies sell bad software for huge amounts of money. They get away with it for a variety of reasons that link together to form a sort of protective wall. But the software world is changing. One way to start is to make things for smaller companies, because they canít afford the overpriced stuff made for big ones. Theyíre also easier to sell to.

Dating: Current dating sites are not the last word. Better ones will appear. But anyone who wants to start a dating startup has to answer two questions: in addition to the usual question about how youíre going to approach dating differently, you have to answer the even more important question of how to overcome the huge chicken and egg problem every dating site faces. A site like Reddit is interesting when there are only 20 users. But no one wants to use a dating site with only 20 users ó which of course becomes a self-perpetuating problem. So if you want to do a dating startup, donít focus on the novel take on dating that youíre going to offer. Thatís the easy half. Focus on novel ways to get around the chicken and egg problem.


Web Office apps: This is a rich market, considering how much Microsoft makes from it. A startup that made a tenth as much would be very happy. And a startup that takes on such a project will be helped along by Microsoft itself, who between their increasingly bureaucratic culture and their desire to protect existing desktop revenues will probably do a bad job of building web-based Office variants themselves. Before you try to start a startup doing this, however, you should be prepared to explain why existing web-based Office alternatives havenít taken the world by storm, and how youíre going to beat that.

Online learning: How can you teach kids now that you can reach them through the web? The possible answers are a lot more interesting than just putting books online. One route would be to start with test prep services, for which thereís already demand, and then expand into teaching kids more than just how to score high on tests. Another would be to start with games and gradually make them more thoughtful. Another, particularly for younger kids, would be to let them learn by watching one another (anonymously) solve problems.

Easy site builders: The way to build this is to write a flexible site builder, then write layers on top to produce different variants. The key to making a site builder for end-users is to make software that lets people with no design ability produce things that look good ó or at least professional.

More at Startup Ideas from Paul Graham of YCombinator.

Comments


About the Author:
Brajeshwar is an ace digerati and an ardent believer of KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid), he envisions pushing the technical envelope time and again for the betterment of commercial and practical applications. http://www.brajeshwar.com/
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