3. What makes a good idea?
Updated: Jan 4
I’ve always been someone that comes up with ideas. Looking back, while some have been good, some of them have been terrible. At university my idea for miniature football goals in urinals to…ahem…’shoot’ tiny footballs along the trough is definitely my worst. The fights that would have caused! I’ve also had some solid ones, it’s just that other people got there first and some ones I’ve not yet got around to but, I think, have potential. So how do you know you’ve got a good idea?
As a child I can remember guffawing at moronic invention ideas like the solar powered torch, helicopter ejector seat and chocolate teapot. Nowadays you can get a wide variety of excellent solar torches on Amazon, ejector seats have been in production helicopters since 1995 and you really can buy chocolate teapots, although the jury is probably still out as to whether you should.
As a contrast, some great ideas have often taken ages to be accepted. Colonel Sanders apparently failed 1009 times before finding someone that would sell chicken cooked with his Kentucky fried recipe. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter novel was rejected by 12 publishing houses before being taken on by Bloomsbury. Some people must have been kicking themselves in hindsight.
So if you’ve got a bad idea, you get told it’s bad and if you have a good idea you probably get told the same. So how do you know? My children’s story about the Thunder Mouse never got published. Does that mean it was as good as The Philosopher’s Stone (It clearly isn’t. I do think it’s good though)?
This week on the Founder Institute program was the week to pitch your ideas. Five 60-plus-hour weeks spent researching, cultivating and shaping each of our ideas to find out if they would sink or swim by presenting them to a Dragon’s Den style set of mentors in a three-minute pitch. Come out with an average of 3 out of 5 or more, then you get to stay on the course; below that and you may need to go develop the idea further and come back in the next semester (assuming you don’t give up on your chocolate teapot in between).
Anyway, following the analysis, mercifully I’m still here, along with my idea so it must have some merit. One point of feedback that was raised by the mentors was, “Can I prove I can build traction? Will people pay for this?” which is fair enough. So how DO you build traction? Well this is where you come in (please).
I’ve set up a very basic landing page for my app in order to allow people to register interest here:
As we’re only in week 5, the number of people signed up to my list is still in the tens, but I need to get to the thousands soon if this has any chance.
The landing page has some basic information about what I’m trying to do and if you think you know someone that even just possibly may be interested in using it, then please forward this blog on to them and ask them to register.
And who is it targeted at? Well, in fairness, it’s everyone. Anyone that likes being part of an activity with others so think:
- People that organise or are part of sports teams
- Members of clubs
- Teachers or instructors of any groups
- Anyone going on, or likely to go on a group weekend away (boys’ weekend / girls’ weekend etc)
- Families that go on trips with other families, or with extensions of their own family group.
- People that buy tickets for events (music gigs, plays, sports matches)
- Social groups that like to meet up for drinks, food when social rules allow
- Anyone organising a group social at work
- Parents planning an activity for multiple children
It really is designed for anyone. If you could please think of, say, three people that might be interested in using this app, please forward this on and ask them to register their details on the site.
Ultimately if I can’t build the traction then it won’t matter how good my idea is. As one mentor said during the review, an average idea that everyone knows about will always outdo a great idea that no one knows about, so I’d really appreciate you passing this on.