Ideas may be free, but coming up with an actually good one is not so easy. Here are some categories that can help you to organize the idea space and zero in on your next business.

The Passion Project

Be the change you want to see in the world: this is the most comon place to start when ideating your new business. Passion projects are ideas that come from the problems you’ve experienced personally and are issues that you’re fired up to to solve. Hopscotch was that type of idea. I was mad that I never discovered programming as a kid and set out to make something that would have inspired 10-year-old me. The good thing is that if you work on a problem that you care about, you’re more likely to stick to it. The flip side is that you may stick to this startup for far too long even if it turns out to not be a great business.

The Remix

What did people once spend time and money on that they no longer do? I saw a tweet recently about how, with the rise of streaming, gifting music is no longer a thing. It’s true. Nobody has given me a CD since high school. If you’re a 90’s kid you resonate. Human nature doesn’t change; you can make money finding a way to bring back behaviors that have been lost in the digital transformation. There are lots of industries that have been decimated by the internet, but maybe you can restore what was lost in a new form.

The Boring Problem

Waste management is a big business. Driving a garbage truck is super profitable because nobody wants to do it. You can and should charge a premium for wading into the smelly muck that everyone wants to avoid.

These ideas come from the boring problems that nobody is excited to work on. They tend to be under-developed because they are nobody’s passion. Vanta is one of my favorites in this space. SOC2 compliance is a burden that many companies face and nobody wants to deal with. And it turns out, people will pay a lot of money for you to solve it for them.

The Elon Musk

Read some science fiction novels. Choose your favorite features from the futuristic world. Then find an engineer who’s willing to try and build it. Some large categories that fit well here: human body augmentation, unexpected sources of energy, and novel ways to move from point A to point B. These types of ideas will require a lot of capital. If you succeed, you will be hailed as a visionary. Until then, most people will think you’re an idiot.


Ask Chat GPT to come up with an idea for you; then ask it to execute as well. Profit.