How to get an idea for starting up a web2.0 application business


how to get an idea? idea?

Ideas Web 2.0

asked Apr 14 '10 at 15:02
116 points
  • Execution is key, ideas they are a dime a dozen. – Robinshe 14 years ago
  • but I need one at least! – Robinshe 14 years ago
  • Thanks you everyone great help! – Robinshe 14 years ago

6 Answers


The problem with fixing something that frustrates YOU is that you're facing a LOT of competition. That strategy might work for 37signals but it won't work for everyone (just take a look at the gazillion of web apps aimed at developers/designers/entrepreneurs/etc.). I would say your best shot at finding a profitable idea is to explore an industry/domain that is under served by developers.

Read books, trade magazines, blogs, etc. in an industry that is unrelated to software development/social media/freelancing/etc. You will find that some of these industries are under served and are oftenly not up-to-date with the latest technologies.

I totally agree with the whole "fix a problem" mantra, but try to find problems that not too many web entrepreneurs have. Think outside of the box !

answered Apr 14 '10 at 22:41
Olivier Lalonde
2,753 points


Find a pain point and fix it. Every time something frustrates you, try to solve it for you and everybody.

answered Apr 14 '10 at 16:27
J. Pablo Fernández
412 points
  • Thanks you very much! – Robinshe 14 years ago


Is there anything you're missing in your day to day?

When you're getting your job done, or you're working on your personal stuff, do you sometimes think "if there only was an app that I could use for this..."

List all of them and then try to figure out which one could have the best traction to a wider audience.

You need to remember that a good web app needs to provide instant gratification to the users (you sign-up to use it, and get immediately hooked to how it works and what you can do with it). Be sure you use this criteria when going through the list of ideas you gathered.

answered Apr 14 '10 at 16:52
825 points
  • Thanks you very much! – Robinshe 14 years ago


I don't think my previous post made it through.

This site is a great source of ideas (and not just under the 'ideas' tag). Look at this post - Framework for Freemium Model in ASP.NET - does that not indicate to you that there may be a market for an easily usable Freemium plugin for various web frameworks (not just ASP.NET but RoR and Java).

Here is someone who has a great OCR algorithm - any immediate thoughts on how it could be used? I would like an app for my Android phone (I guess iPhone and iPad users would like it as well) that I can point at random text (poster, flyer, etc) and send HTML or PDF directly to my blog or via email.

The platform this site is running on may be shutting down. Come up with something that has the same facilities but a better revenue stream.

There are often people looking for funding for their start-ups. Is there a way you could facilitate that? Niche sites may get a lot of funding from their users (who don't want them to go away and don't want to have to migrate their data) in return for discounts or equity. This one is a bit complex (legally & financially) but certainly puts the Internet back in the hands of the users rather than the corporations.

There are four ideas just from looking at the front page of this site at close to midnight (my time). The problem is not ideas but how to implement them (you got that in the first reply though).

answered Apr 14 '10 at 23:10
Shane G
206 points
  • Thanks you very much! – Robinshe 14 years ago


I agree with the whole "fix a problem" theme from the other comments. Some thoughts on how to find the right one:

  • Brainstorm with a few smart friends
  • Pick a profession you're interested in, network with people in that area, interview them, and if possible follow them around at work
  • Keep a list - start by putting down at least 10 dumb ideas to break the ice
  • Create a better version of an existing service or product that you think sucks
answered Apr 15 '10 at 00:09
339 points


As already stated: find a problem and fix it. Preferably a hard problem.
There are several techniques to find and validate ideas, but I recommend you to read Eric Sink in the Business of Software, since there is at least one chapter that covers how to find ideas and validate them.

answered Apr 14 '10 at 19:16
Fernando Martins
798 points
  • Thanks you very much! – Robinshe 14 years ago

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Ideas Web 2.0