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					How to Come up with
 Good Startup Ideas

           Trip Adler
   Co-founder and CEO, Scribd

  Founders Institute Presentation
         May 19, 2009
The Process of
Startup Ideation
The Scribd Story (SS)
The Trip Method (TM)
Idea A

Nowigo - a ridesharing
 service
Lesson: Just because you
 have an idea, it doesn¶t
 mean it¶s a good idea
Idea A-B

Nowigo - transportation
 search engine +
 ridesharing service
Lesson: Work on
 something that has
 potential to be huge
Idea C

Hulist - Craigslist for
 colleges
Lesson: Work on
 something that has a built-
 in mechanism for getting
 huge fast
Idea D

Moobub - Spam-your-
 friends
Lesson: If you try it and it
 doesn¶t work - and this
 causes you to lose
 confidence in the idea -
 then stop working on it
Idea E

1-800-ASK-TRIP - A call
 center for everything
Lesson: This idea is
 awesome!
Idea F

Almost Twitter - Rate-your-
 happiness
Lesson: Bounce your ideas
 off smart and creative
 people; get them involved
 in the creative process
Idea G
(Scribd Beginning)
A way for academics to
 publish online more easily
³The YouTube for
 academic publishing´
Idea G-H

A way for academics,
 creative writers, or anyone
 to publish online more
 easily
³The YouTube for all kinds
 of writing´
Idea G-H-I

 A way for academics, creative
 writers, or anyone to publish
 online more easily by
 uploading documents sitting on
 their hard drive and displaying
 them in a web browser
 ³The YouTube for documents´
Idea G-H-I-J
 A way for academics, creative
 writers, or anyone to publish online
 more easily by uploading
 documents sitting on their hard drive
 and displaying them in a web
 browser, and drive traffic to them
 from Google, social sites, the Scribd
 community, etc.
 ³The YouTube for documents´
Idea G-H-I-J-K-L-M-«.
(Scribd Today)
 Many more major ideas along
 the way: iPaper, groups, API,
 mobile reading, ads in
 documents, Scribd Store, etc.
 A social publishing company
 that aims to liberate the written
 word by democratizing the
 publishing process for
 everyday people
The Trip Method of
Startup Ideation
 The basic idea: A startup is not just
 one idea, but a series of ideas put
 together
 What this means
    Just come up with an idea and start working
     on it
    Constantly keep pushing yourself to come up
     with new ideas
    If you come up with a better idea
     - And it fits into the original, then merge
     - And it¶s totally different, then switch (okay early
          on, much harder later)
The TM: Basic Principles
 Push yourself to be creative
    Usually two hour bursts once a week
    Stop everything to µbe creative¶

 Move your best idea forward 90 hours
 per week
  Building it, researching it, promoting it, etc.
 Trust your instincts and don¶t worry
 about others¶ opinions
  Always evaluate, combine concepts, and re-
     evaluate
    If your gut tells you an idea is good, then it¶s
     good
Trip Method Unit (TMU)



                  Idea B is better       Idea B

                    Idea B is good and        Idea A-B
Idea A   Idea B     related to idea A

                  Idea B is bad
Putting the TMUs together:
Path to Success
     Quality of idea
                                                           Success!
                                                   F-G-I
                                         F-G

                                     F

                           A-D
                                                                      Time
 A

              B                  E                         J

                       C                       H


                                                                = TMU
Getting Started
   Think of something you need/want

   Think of something others need/want

   Figure out what¶s broken and how can you fix it

   Find out what¶s working for other companies and apply it in a new way

   Invent a new technology and figure out how to apply it

   Think of a marketing/growth strategy and then fit a product into it
How to Evaluate an Idea

   What other people think (probably better if they don¶t like it, but not always)

   User data; reaction by the user / customer

   Success of similar ideas

   Sounds different / weird / radical

   Potential to change direction / leaves options open

   Has a way to get big fast

   Potential to be something huge / game changing

   Something you have the resources / knowledge / expertise to build

   Your gut feeling - what matters the most - needs to be developed through TM
More Ideation Lessons
 Having a great idea is often about
  connecting the dots
 Creative ideas often form from intersection
  of two people¶s thinking
 If any idea seems too good to be true to
  you, then get started
 It¶s often about simple innovations - taking
  existing elements and repackaging them
 Don¶t pay too much attention to what¶s
  trendy, but learn from what¶s working for
  others
More Ideation Lessons
 Being a good founder is a
 learned skill - through trial and
 error
 Commitment is good but
 always challenge your current
 ideas
 Hard work + creativity + TM =
 Success
Thanks

Trip Adler
trip@scribd.com
www.twitter.com/tripadler

				
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