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What Makes a Good Idea? The Idea Maze, Market Size


An idea is not a mockup
A mockup is not a prototype
A prototype is not a program
A program is not a product
A product is not a business
And a business is not profits

What makes a good idea?

A good idea has a bird’s eye view of the idea maze.
Understanding all the different branches of the decision tree.
Gaming things out to the end of each scenario.
Anyone can point out the entrance to the maze, but few can think through all the branches.

Verbally and graphically diagram a decision tree with many branches.
Explain why your particular plan to navigate the maze is superior to the past failed companies and your competitors.
Do these steps, and you have a much better idea than many others.

Do Market Sizing Calculations Early and Often

Do market sizing for all your ideas at the start. Many PhD students work on their research or technology for 4 years and begin to feel the entrepreneurial urge. They start doing market sizing and realise it's not viable to commericalise their technology. Why not do market sizing for all the possible PhD research ideas

Do Market Research

Establish that a market exists before building a minimum viable product (MVP).

Facebook Advertising

1. First, you’d want to have some news coverage or research papers to establish the overall frame; these will be display pieces in any pitch to investors. Going to Google Books for the history and reading SEC filings and Wikipedia can be extremely helpful.

2. Next, you want to do a back of the envelope estimate of market size, Googling as necessary for any statistics.

3. Then you want to further validate this market with some modern tools, including Google’s Keyword Planner and Facebook’s Advertiser Tools. (Figures 7-8).

4. If that proves fruitful, you should develop a simple landing page by using a service like Launchrock, photos from iStockphoto, and icons from iconfinder. You may also want to read up on some basic SEO. We’ll mostly focus on the crowdfunder, but Launchrock can be a complement to that approach. If your users need to see flows to understand the product, you will want to create some wireframes (see Figure 10).

5. Finally, you want to allocate a small Google Adwords or Facebook Ads budget to test out the market, and see how many conversions you get.


Wireframing, Copywriting, and Design

Your first goal with the wireframe should be functionality and semantic meaning: what does the product do?

Your second goal is the marketing copy: how do we explain what the product does in words?

Your final goal is the design: how do we make the site and product look beautiful and function beautifully?


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Lucio Buffalmano