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🧠 How to find new SaaS ideas (Building 101 #1)

5 resources and 3 rules for building an 'ideas mindset'

Hey all!

This week, I’ll discuss how to create your own idea-generation process. I’ll share best practices and resources I’ve used to come up with ideas of my own when it seems like it’s a lost cause.

Let’s jump in…

Learn to build software products | IdeaHub

Ideas are not passive

Often you hear people say things like “ideas can come from anywhere, at any time” which makes them sound like rare and elusive things.

In reality, that statement kind of is true - but it has a BIG caveat in that your mind has to be ready to receive these impromptu sparks of inspiration for them to come rushing in.

It’s all about nurturing your mind and maintaining a headspace that leads to good ideas. In reality that can be different for everyone but the common goal should be to absorb information like a sponge.

We all do that differently, through books, podcasts, newsletters etc. The goal is to find a medium that your brain enjoys and exploit it for your own goals. So it’s good news because if you made it this far you’ve already started down that road!

For me, reading is something I can gain value from quite easily. I read A LOT of news articles, whitepapers and books about tech and software products - but importantly they are written by people who have had good ideas themselves.

That means founders and investors in the tech space but definitely NOT online gurus wanting to sell you an E-book. I also listen to podcasts that include founders as guests, to hear their stories and how they started their businesses.

Learn to build software products | IdeaHub

Understand the journey

While reading and hearing about new ideas is great, I think a good idea-generating mind also benefits from an appreciation of the past and the evolution that has taken place to get us, as a society, to where we are now.

To understand where we might be going, what problems we will have and therefore what solutions we will need, you have to first understand where we have come from.

For tech, that means learning about how companies like Yahoo and PayPal, then later Salesforce and Workday and then Coinbase and Spotify earned their spot. Once you understand the story of what came before it becomes much clearer to see in which direction things might be going.

Learn to build software products | IdeaHub

5 awesome resources for an ideas mindset

Below I’ve included a list of resources that have helped me generate a lot of ideas of my own:

  • The Social Radars (Podcast)

    This is an awesome podcast hosted by some of the original founders of YCombinator - one of the most successful VCs of the last two decades. Guests include the architects of some of the original internet companies right through to the modern day.

  • Future by a16z (Podcast)

    Great coverage of pretty much every sector in tech to keep up to speed on the latest developments and news. I tend to just dip in and out of this one as it covers A LOT.

  • How I Built This (Book / Podcast)

    An excellent book by Guy Raz who hosts a podcast on NPR talking to founders of many of the biggest names in tech but also a lot of really successful traditional businesses - which is great for extra perspective.

  • Zero To One (Book)

    Perhaps the most famous book about startups? Written by Peter Thiel who co-founded PayPal and Palantir and was the first outside money to back FaceBook. He writes about the mindset of founders and the mechanics of VC investing.

  • TLDR (Newsletter)

    An awesome newsletter with short summarised snippets to help keep things front of mind. What I love about this one is it was started by 1 guy in 2018 and is already delivering content to over 1 million inboxes every day!

Learn to build software products | IdeaHub

3 tests for new ideas

Remember the following rules before investing your precious time in anything:

  • If it’s not available on the shelves, there’s probably a good reason…

    E-Books have flooded the information space with content. The barrier to entry is very low compared to publishing where authors are fighting for shelf space. If you can’t find it in the store, ask yourself why!

  • Startups can live fast and die young…

    Startups come and go with the wind so don’t get hooked on the latest trends and follow them to the grave. Focus on solving real problems that people have rather than the latest tech or industry trends.

  • Don’t overthink it!

    Building something from scratch is a big endeavour and it can at times be difficult to know where to start. Try to fight off ‘analysis paralysis’ as much as possible and try things out!

Round-up

That’s it for this week!

If you want to get more ideas like this to your inbox every week then make sure you sign up for the email newsletter here!

Keep on building! ✌️

P.S. Check out the official IdeaHub Reddit community where you can share ideas with other builders.

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