From July 7th to July 16th I committed myself to coming up with and recording 10 software/tech/e-commerce business ideas every day. I am committed to starting a software or tech business of some kind, but I am stuck in the idea phase. I figured there may be some benefit to exercising my creative muscles every day for a short period to see if I can make a break through. I am not sure I found the idea I was looking for, but there are a few things I learned...
1. Social media is Resistance.
At the advice of one of my podcast guests, Thomas Henson, I read the book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Pressfield gives a name to the force that prevents you from doing you work. he calls this force Resistance. I learned through this endeavor that Resistance manifests itself as the urge to constantly check social media. Sitting down to write these 10 ideas took me a few hours every day. It took this long because whenever I found it hard to find the next idea I would, like a trained monkey, drown myself in an ever repeating cycle of checking Twitter, my blog stats, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Yahoo News. It was a whirlpool that sucked me in and wouldn't release until I was met with fatigue. I found I was only able to break out when it was well past my bed time. The desire to go to bed quickly overcame the desire I had not to do my work. Since I had committed to doing this it had to be done, and I did it.
I am not sure at what point I realized that social media was hijacking my focus and destroying my creativity, but now I can't un-see it. As I was editing the next episode of my podcast this morning any disruption in my work, rendering the MP3 for example, resulted in the desire to pop open the browser and check what is going on. I am also met with the urge to do the same now as I write this because the words aren't flowing as well as they should. When things get hard I get distracted. Now that I am aware I can fix it, and fix it I shall.
2. Problems are everywhere, but 10 a day is a lot.
Finding 10 ideas every day is not easy. After doing it for a few days I found myself analyzing every experience in my day for problems I could turn into ideas. Some of these may not be actual problems, but ones I could imagine exist. Others were legit problems or things that upset me. In any case, once you begin looking for them you begin to see opportunities for improvement everywhere. A recent hospital visit resulted in a few ideas one day. Grilling gave me an idea another day. Opening the fridge to get produce gave me an idea. It wasn't that hard. What made it hard was trying to do 10 every day. To succeed at this for the long haul you would need a plethora of different experiences every day. Perhaps this is why a lot of successful entrepreneurs spent some of their life travelling around doing a variety of things.
3. Ideas aren't worth anything.
The developer, entrepreneur, and Simple Programmer John Sonmez has been very influential to me in recent months. I've watched a fair number of his YouTube videos and would highly recommend them. This experience reminded me of one of his videos Why Your Million Dollar Idea is Worthless. I came up with a lot of ideas over these 10 days. Maybe there is one that is really good, perhaps a million dollar idea? However, if I don't execute a single on of them they are absolutely worthless. Execution is key. For 1/2 second I worried about publicizing 100 of my ideas. What if I give away 1 really good idea and someone steals it? Meh! Nobody is going to steal them. People have tons of good ideas but they rarely execute on them. There are very few people who have the capacity to execute. Feel free to take these ideas and run with them!
Unlike cold showers I do not plan on continuing to write 10 tech company ideas every day. I am, however, going to continue to analyze my experiences for problems I can solve. I need to narrow my focus and pick an idea to implement, but I will start a software company this year.
Check out all 100 ideas here: