What Makes a Good Start-Up? - The Role of Ideas

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The Role of Ideas in the successful Start-up

based upon an article by Paul Graham

Start-up seems to be the word of the moment, at least in the more geeky or high-tech sections of society. In free countries at least. If you live under a Communist or leftist regime, I suggest you either flee the country or else drown into the sea of mediocrity that it creates.

Political rants aside, to start their own company is the dream of many who want to get rich and think they can do something the market demands.

Many people think that, in order to be able to start a successful start-up (pun intended), one must have some sort of earth shattering idea.

The idea I'm trying to put forward here is that a novel idea is somewhat less important than other variables in the succeeding of a start-up.

I, for example, live in a country where the overall level of service providing is very low indeed (for many reasons which I don't want to go into right now in order to prevent this from turning into a political monologue). Ideas are floating around all the time, all the more so with the increasing role of the Internet. That doesn't do much for you if you want to have a website created for you, a shower fixed or something like that.

The point here is that an idea isn't at all necessary for a successful business to thrive, particularly if you are in an underdeveloped economy like the one I live in. Knowing what to do is not, from my point of view, not nearly as important as how to do.

Founding a start-up that focuses on quality (i.e. how to do things) might get you rich even if you are providing a service that many other people already provide.

Take google as an example. They started out as a search engine. Big deal. Many companies already did that at that time (you probably remember some of them yourself). Now see that google didn't come up with a novel idea at all. They took an existing idea and pushed it onto the next level.

As of this writing (2012) google is still growing. Nowadays they provide all sorts of web-based services, and still they haven't come up with a grand creative idea. They are doing stuff everyone was doing but they are doing it very well. They've established a very high standard of quality and they are making billions of dollars without ever having to come up with a new idea themselves. Which does not diminish them in any way. Some people are good at creating stuff (scientists) and others are good at implementing (engineers) stuff. There's room for both in this world.

P.S.: Facebook would be another great example of this theory. Who needs another social network? You might ask. Well. US$ 100 Billion IPO says they're on the right track.

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