🛠️ The Product Person #24: Idea Generation

How to generate more ideas.

Throughout the course of running your business, you’ll have to generate lots of ideas.

How do you get good at idea generation?

1) Hang out with optimists

Be around people who are:

  • optimistic

  • have a good feel for the future

  • entertain improbable plans

  • smart in creative ways

  • generate a lot of ideas themselves

These people tend to think without constraints. They likely won’t make you feel stupid for mentioning a bad idea. And they aren’t afraid to share their bad ideas.

2) Avoid those that belittle your ambitions

Unfortunately, this is most of the world. They cling to the past as you reach for the future.

3) Project yourself into the future

Project yourself 20 years into the future, and then think backwards from there.

This gives you leeway to think up some pretty radical ideas.

Here are a few important questions to ask yourself:

  • How is the world changing in fundamental ways?

  • Can you identify a leading change and an opportunity that it unlocks?

  • What is possible this year that wasn’t possible last year?

  • Could this be huge if it worked?

When you can say “I am sure this is going to happen, I’m just not sure if we’ll be the ones to do it”, that’s a good sign.

4) Understand your limits

Most people can’t be Elon Musk. You have to understand what ideas are well-suited for you. Product/founder fit is equally as important product/market fit.

This is hard to do with pure introspection. Ask someone you know and who you’ve worked with what you’re particularly good at.

5) Understand why it’s a bad idea

A good test for any idea is if you can articulate why most people think it’s a bad idea, but you understand what makes it good.

The Lesson

To generate ideas for your business or for new products, you have to surround yourself with optimists —people that are playing offense and are willing to take risks. Whether they’re financial or social risks.

You can’t win a game with teammates that are scared to make a play.

You also have to be an open-minded, curious thinker. You have to be able to observe changes happening around you and ask yourself questions like:

“Where is the world heading?”

“Who’s taking advantage of these opportunities and how?”

“What can I do about it?”


🖇️ This is a summary of a blog post by Sam Altman


P.S

For those interested, a progress update on my new startup, HiNote.

Also, in case you missed it, I launched a Shopify store last week 🎉 There are just phone wallpapers there right now. I’ll house other future products there, like e-books or stickers.


Thanks for reading Issue #24 😊

I’d appreciate it if you’d hit that heart button and share with a friend.

-Anthony