The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown Down: I’m Stepping Up to Paul Graham’s Challenge

I’m an unabashed fan of the Y Combinator startup incubation program and very much enjoy reading Paul Graham’s excellent startup blog.  This past weekend Paul had a long post outlining 30 broad startup ideas that they would like to fund.  After reading through the list several times, I got an idea of my own.  Why not get back into my “A Startup A Day” blog in a big way – by spending the next 30 days working through the list one by one and coming up with an idea to address each and every scenario that Paul outlined in his post. 

Here are a few of the ground rules:

  1. If by chance I’ve previously came up with an idea that addresses one of the scenarios, I’m allowed to repost that idea.
  2. I get to take weekends off – unless I get really inspired (aka bored) and feel like doing a bonus post
  3. I may need some help along the way – anyone interested in signing up to do a guest post for one of the ideas, just let me know!

This should be fun.  Let the challenge begin!

38 responses to “The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown Down: I’m Stepping Up to Paul Graham’s Challenge

  1. Sounds fun good luck posting on each idea… perhaps next you should then take your favorite and give yourself 30 days to try to implement something?

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  3. Thanks Dan, I’ll definitely need the luck. I like the idea of implementing my favorite idea – might be a good candidate for our next “A Startup A Week” episode (check it out at if you don’t know what I’m talking about)

  4. I dont know – you sound smart – but at the end of day it seems like time, negative space and subconscious is where the good ideas really come from – hashing an idea out over days, weeks, months … I admire the effort though – why not?

  5. Thanks AK. There’s actually two sides to this project. 1) Part of the challenge of coming up with an idea is being able to distill it down into a couple of paragraphs that people can understand. Traditionally I’ve been very bad at that, and this excercise forces me to practice this regularly. 2) Over the course of the past year or so, by constantly coming up with ideas and getting them out there in front of people, I’ve started to build a filter that gives me an intrinsic sense of what ideas are total crap and which ones might actually be feasible. Hopefully over time I’ll keep developing that sense and when that one really fantastic idea does emerge out of the “time, negative space, and subconscious”, I’ll be able to pick it out from the rest of the noise.

  6. That sounds good. I wonder how many other people are doing similar things? I am rocking a couple of them myself right now. Why wait for inspiration to strike when you can just get going? Let me know when you need teammates on some of the ideas!

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  8. Great idea! I’m subscribed to see what you come up with.

  9. Thanks, Ross!

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