Picking a winning startup idea

I realized a long time ago that ideas were dime a dozen, worthless unless you pick the right one which targets the right market, complements your skills or knowledge and has the right timing, which over a period of time turns into something valuable.

I look at myself a year back when I was crashing a generous friend’s place in Bangalore. With a semester left before graduation, I was doing ‘research’ for the startup I wanted to found right out of college. I was working on multiple ideas, talking to numerous people to figure out which would be the winner. Its hard to evaluate your own ideas without bias, so I had two parameters to judge them on:
1. What market insight did I have that most people didn’t?
2. What execution insight did I have that people who knew point #1 didn’t?

GharPay scored high on both, which I now realize made me confident enough to start this. My years of obsession with internet businesses and microcredit industry paid off. I knew what ecommerce industry lacked and I knew how microcredit companies manage cash. I obviously had no experience in running a company but I knew how our biggest problems could be solved.

So if you are a young founder, be honest with yourself and figure out what is it that gives you an information advantage to start a successful business. Don’t be daunted by the fact that you have no experience in execution, you’ll figure it out. But if you have neither information nor skill advantage, then you just might be gambling.

I learnt this by looking at my father’s experience with the stock markets. He could never ever predict his winning stocks, because he simply didn’t know more about one company than anybody else out there. So how could he possibly win?

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