Sifting for good/bad ideas

Fresh off a trip from Cabo, I went back to Austin, did laundry, packed the exact same clothes, and headed off to our AppSumo Getaway in Seattle:
http://www.appsumo.com/how-to-make-your-first-dollar-seattle-getaway/

Some of the people who came were already running businesses, some were not.

I noticed something while talking to the people who DID NOT have a business going….

There were lots of ideas floating around in their heads (and even written down), but no apparent framework to make sense of those ideas.  

I realized something I accidentally did back in the day, and still to this day, that has helped me immensely: I would write down tooonnsss of ideas, and rank them.

Read that last part?
The part about “ranking them”?

It’s immensely important.  So lemme take you through the simple process I use to find business ideas, product ideas, ways to make money…..

I first am fully aware of this:

“The best way to get a good idea, is to have a lot of ideas!”

I write down a ton of ideas.  Anything.  The point is to get the brain jogging:

  • Bad ideas.
  • Good ideas.
  • Funny ideas.
  • Stupid ideas.
  • Wacky ideas.
  • Ideas that solve problems.
  • Ideas for stuff I personally want.

Just by it’s nature, this list will contain some gold, and some crap.  Mostly crap. But who cares, it’s just a freakin list!!  (usually mine are written somewhere in a notebook).

Now here’s how to sift your list of ideas for gold (in a semi-scientific way):

You rank each idea on a scale from 1 to 5 in several areas:

  1. Easy-ness – How easy would it be to get this going?
  2. Fun – Is this fun for me?
  3. Profit – What’s the potential profit here?

Total up the numbers, and almost instantly….the piece of paper you wrote these down on will turn from a random list of ideas, to a piece of paper telling you which ideas you should move forward with.  

Here’s a ghetto example I made in 2 minutes:

Obviously some ideas will be easier for some than others based on skill/talent.

So in my particular case, this list has shown a book about Kopywriting will be my best bet.  A yogurt stand however, doesn’t seem very fun (although I love GOING to them and pretending my CakeBatter yogurt with 9 pounds of chocolate toppings is “healthy”)!

So this my friend, is a key difference between a regular-ole list of ideas….and a list of ideas which tells you which one to go with.

Now I’m a big pencil/paper kind of guy, but I thought I’d make a cool “Idea Calculator” for you to use.

Simply click on the Google Doc, and save it for yourself.  It’ll auto-calculate your ideas, and tell you when something is promising (usually anything over a “10” is decent):

Here’s your Idea Calculator (save it for yourself in any format you choose to start entering your own):
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AuaB65FccS9sdDVZVWU1ZFZYaXdaQVNsMWZPdF8zNmc#gid=0

The point of this is to get you to start ranking your ideas with a number…..so you can spend less time sifting through ideas, and spend more time trying the winners.

Cool huh!?
Neville – Enjoying the awesome Seattle summer weather (and surrounded by 25 nerds in a house)