I do a lot of reading about startups and entrepreneurship. A common theme on the subject of getting started is finding problems to solve. “Easier said than done”, I’ve always thought. People in the tech startup world love to claim that ideas are cheap and easy, execution is where it counts. Ideas weren’t cheap and easy to me, until I learned a trick.
Startup literature writes that you should find meaningful problems to solve in order to start your startup. That seems kind of abstract to me. If I had a meaningful problem, usually I’ve already solved it myself.
Getting more specific, people bring up “pain points.” Find something in your life that is a “pain point” and fix that, and chances are, other people have the same “pain point” and you can help them solve it. Again, that’s a little abstract. What causes me pain in my life? Not much.
While dwelling on the meaning of “pain point”, I came up with a rephrasing and a quick acid test. A pain point is something that makes you say “Man, this sucks.”
“Driving home in traffic sucks”
“Planning a wedding sucks”
“Changing travel plans sucks”
“Lost luggage sucks”
Something is a “pain point” if doing it, or experiencing it, or fixing it makes you think “Man, this sucks.”
If something sucks, and you can fix it, then you start to put the idea through the whole “will people pay for this” wringer.