My dev super power is "I can build anything" so what the heck should I build?!

Using the Pareto principle (80/20 rule) I surmise that any good coder is capable of creating 80% of the software already in existence.

Given enough time and effort anyone could create a social network, a CRM, a game, personal finance software, an email marketing platform, image editing software, point of sale software or pretty much anything else you can imagine.

In my career as a software developer I've already created a long list of software for other people. A surprisingly diverse range of products including desktop, apps, websites and games.

When you think about it, it's kind of like a super power. A coder has the ability to create a product from almost nothing. A brain + a computer is all you really need.

Sometimes I forget that only a very tiny percentage of the world population can do it.

But being able to create great software doesn't automatically make it a good business idea.

If you want to turn software into a business, at the very least, you also need to be able to find customers willing to pay for what you're creating. That's no easy feat.

The idea is the easy part

I used to think that coming up with ideas was the hardest part. Then one day I realised that you don't need to have a completely original idea to start a business.

Almost every business on the planet is just a variation of an idea that's already been done. If you want to open a coffee shop you don't need to invent brand new coffee. You just need to be able to make coffee and do all the other things involved in running a business. The idea is the least interesting part.

Sure, you get to create your own brand and pick the location of your coffee shop. You can decide on the menu and what kind of milk options are available. You can even choose the beans and the prices. All of these little decisions differentiate your products and your business from everyone elses.

Software isn't much different. Creating software involves thousands of little micro decisions along the way and you decide which direction to take it as it evolves.

Once you get past this, it's easy to see there's actually thousands of ideas to choose from.

Not all ideas are created equal

However, not every idea is a good founder fit.

  • Some ideas are just too big for one person to tackle from scratch
  • Some ideas are way out of my comfort zone
  • Some ideas are for a market I have no idea how to reach
  • Some ideas I know I will hate working on for the long term
  • Some ideas are already saturated with competitors
  • Some ideas just won't sell at a high enough price point

So yeah, picking the right idea isn't easy.

Or maybe I'm just overthinking it.

So what idea should I go with?

I've been reflecting a lot in the past couple of weeks to trying to figure out my own ideal founder fit. Here's what I've come up with:

  • I know that I can build a great user experience
  • I'm very interested in the "prosumer" market
  • I am most comfortable as a solo founder
  • My strengths are coding, productivity tools and game development
  • I love to help other people make things

So, what the heck should I build?