How the Right Start-Up Ideas Are About Making What People Want

In this interesting post ‘Billionaires Build‘, Paul Graham of Y Combinator explains what should be the most important criterion for selecting promising start-ups: producing what people want. And, Paul Graham adds, as it means also selecting future billionaires, it should also be the criterion for that selection.

His point is that exploiting people is not a sustainable proposition. Proposing something that people want is. And this needs to be demonstrable: “The crucial feature of the initial market is that it exist. That may seem like an obvious point, but the lack of it is the biggest flaw in most startup ideas. There have to be some people who want what you’re building right now, and want it so urgently that they’re willing to use it, bugs and all, even though you’re a small company they’ve never heard of. There don’t have to be many, but there have to be some.”

In addition, Paul Graham mentions it is important to be interested into what is getting built (which avoids getting out too early), and have a thorough understanding of future users (even better if you are using your proper service first).

Based on my experience what is really important is to have demonstrated that people are ready to pay for the service even if it is just a Proof of Concept with limited capabilities. That it solves someone’s problem by making life easier. If only all start-up founders could take this as a principle!