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    This doesn’t really jive with how my business has come to be. For me, the hard part was finding the right problem to solve. I wanted a problem that:

    • Was clearly a problem.
    • Didn’t have any satisfying solutions yet.
    • Interfered with people’s businesses.

    First point made the marketing really easy - all I had to do was tell people I had a solution to their problem. I didn’t need to convince anyone that they had a problem they didn’t see. Second one meant I didn’t have to convince anyone to change products. And the third one meant that people would be willing to pay money, since it was in an environment where money was changing hands.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with starting a business in a situation unlike the one I’ve outlined. Just thought I’d point out that the problems raised in the OP aren’t always problems.

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      Any tips for finding such a problem? This is obviously the holy grail, but not always easy to come across.

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        The way I came across mine was by starting to look for something else, that’s slightly less holy-grail-ish - a business I could run in a non-technical field. I managed to start a small business without any programming, and with thousands of other people running similar businesses. And almost immediately, I started running into problems I knew I could solve, with programming. Since essentially none of the other people running similar businesses were technical people, no one had built or sold a solution to the problems.

        Worked out really well!

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          That’s a great idea. Thanks for your comment! I really appreciate it.

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        This is a valuable comment, so I added it to the bottom of the blog post. Hope that’s okay!

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          Yeah, no problem at all!

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        This feels like the first part of a longer discussion – I look forward to further thoughts along these lines! Currently wrestling with that communication issue, trying to find the right set of things to present to users in marking…sort of like Job’s famous “Bicycle for the Mind” way of describing the personal computer back in the day.

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          Agreed, it’s a biiiiig topic and there’s lots to say on the issue. Having a hook like that Jobs quote can be so useful – something simple and memorable that really sticks in people’s brains. A simple but super meaningful value proposition. I think it’s legitimately just very difficult! You kinda have to keep bouncing thoughts against the wall.