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Startup Ideation: What you need to know to get an edge

Get an in-depth understanding and valuable insights into what makes the best startup ideas and where to find them
4.5 (4 ratings)
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1,103 students enrolled
Created by Judith Zen
Last updated 6/2014
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  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 2 Articles
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What is this course about?

The startup idea can make or break a startup. Ideas alone don't make a startup but picking the best idea for you to work on will get you off onto a good start.

This course will give you a big picture view and an in-depth insight into what makes the best startup ideas for you. It will introduce you to some fundamental and essential concepts about ideation for startups that you must grasp before you embark on your startup journey.

This course is all about concepts and insights. It’s more of a how-to-think course than a how-to-do course. It was developed as the precursor part of a more comprehensive course called "Think like an entrepreneur" that I will be launching shortly. I decided to offer the Ideation part of the course as a standalone course for free for a limited time to make it more accessible.

Why take this course?

Picking the right startup idea to work on will speed up your learning curve and save you a lot of time and heartache learning the hard way.

There is a huge opportunity cost in picking the best startup idea to work on - it takes an enormous amount of time, energy, money, focus and dedication to execute a startup idea. You don't want to settle for anything less than the most worthy startup idea for you.

By the end of this course, if you have fully assimilated the concepts, you will know what makes the best startup idea for you and where to find it.

How is the course structured?

This course is divided into core concept sections. Each lecture introduces you to an essential concept or idea. Putting all the pieces together with each lecture will give you a big picture overview and a more in-depth understanding of what makes the best startup idea and how to come up with one for you.

How long will the course take to complete?

The course has about a full hour of video material. I've chosen to focus on core concepts to keep the lectures short and to the point. The lectures may be short but they pack a punch. I would highly recommend that you take your time to fully assimilate the material and apply it to your own case, own each concept and idea introduced in each lecture before moving on to the next.

The lectures within each section tend to flow and follow from the previous one. A good recommended pace would be to take on one section in one sitting. You can easily complete the entire course in a week or in a day!

Who is the target audience?
  • Anyone who has an interest in starting a startup.
  • Anyone who is thinking about starting a startup.
  • Anyone looking to find a great startup idea.
  • Anyone who is at the ideation stage of a startup.
  • Anyone who is already working on a startup and wants to learn more.
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What Will I Learn?
You'll learn about what makes the best startup ideas.
You'll learn about where to look for the best startup idea for you.
You will learn about what it takes to execute and pull off a great startup idea.
You will be introduced to fundamental and essential ideation concepts that will help you come up with the best startup idea for you.
View Curriculum
  • A desire to learn, an entrepreneurial spirit and an open mind.
Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 39 Lectures Collapse All 39 Lectures 01:08:36
1 Lecture 04:21

An introduction and overview about this course, what we'll be talking about, why ideation is so important to startups and what you can expect from the course.

Preview 04:21
The sweet spot of startup ideas
5 Lectures 05:46

Before coming up with ideas for your startup, you need to understand the fundamental startup premise first:
You need to be unique and you need to offer value.

Preview 00:49

Why are good ideas bad? And why some good ideas look bad at first.

Preview 02:12

In this lecture you will see where good ideas overlap with crazy ideas and why it's the sweet spot.

Preview 00:41

Your idea should pass an initial viability test before you can take it seriously. This lecture goes over the initial idea test.

Preview 01:02

This lecture summarizes the key takeaway concepts you should grasp about the idea sweet spot.

Preview 01:02
Idea vs. Execution
5 Lectures 06:14

This lecture introduces the concept that execution matters more than the idea.

It's the execution that counts

This lecture discusses Derek Siver's execution multiplier to show you the power of execution.

The execution multiplier

In this lecture, we'll go through a few quick examples of startup ideas that didn't sound that brilliant at first but caught on like wild fire because they hit the sweet spot and had brilliant execution.

"Dumb" ideas, brilliant execution

In this lecture, I'll introduce the reason why investors are not interested in funding ideas per se. You may know that already but now that you can put execution in perspective, it should be more obvious to you why ideas are not fundable.

Why ideas are not fundable

This lecture summarizes the key takeaway concepts you should grasp about the idea vs. execution.

Execution vs. Pulling it off
4 Lectures 11:25

In this lecture, I'll talk about the personal qualities it takes to pull off a startup idea.

What it takes to pull it off

In this lecture, I talk about why your attitude to execution matters.

Attitude to execution

This is a self-assessment exercise for you to take a good look at whether you have what it takes to pull off a startup idea.

Do this exercise now to set a baseline. And come back and do it again say in a month's time to see whether you've progressed.

Self-assessment exercise

This lecture summarizes the key takeaway concepts you should grasp about what it takes to pull off a startup idea.

Where to get ideas
10 Lectures 14:31

This lecture is an introduction to what we'll be discussing in this section - where to get startup ideas.


In this lecture, I'll talk about the importance of framing your idea in the problem-solution perspective and why.

Problems that bug you

The knowledge, skills, experience and expertise you may already have should be a rich source to draw from for startup ideas. We'll explore this idea some more in this lecture.

What you know

The most brilliant ideas often come from a flash of inspiration. The question is, how do you get there? I'll be going over a few ways to help bring on that flash of inspiration.

Flash of inspiration

Building a better mousetrap has always been a tried and true way to conceive new and better products. We'll discuss how you can come up with "a better mousetrap" for your startup.

A better mousetrap

The internet is replete with examples of startups that have nichified from a proven and successful business model. We'll talk about how to nichify a startup idea.


Your idea doesn't have to be original. There's a lot to be said about bring what's proven to be successful to a new market. That's why I'll be talking about in this lecture.

Bring proven business models to new markets

Many startups have also evolved from meeting the needs of existing customers you may have. We'll be talking about that in this lecture.

Your first customers

The most disruptive technology often came from the founders coming up with what they want to see in the future. This is another fertile source for startup ideas and we'll be talking about that in this lecture.

Build what's missing from the future

This lecture summarizes the key takeaway concepts you should grasp about the most fertile sources for startup ideas.

Anatomy of the best ideas
5 Lectures 05:29

This lecture recaps some of the concepts already discussed so far and gives an overview as to what makes the best startup ideas.


In this lecture, I'll be talking about what an organic idea is and give an example.

Organic ideas

In this lecture, I'll be talking about what a contrived idea is and give an example.

Contrived ideas

In this lecture I'll break down the best startup ideas in the context of an organic idea into 4 elements.

Anatomy of the best startup ideas

This lecture summarizes the key takeaway concepts you should grasp about organic vs. contrived ideas and what makes the best startup ideas.

Brainstorming the idea
3 Lectures 08:54

In this lecture, we'll take stock with what we have learned so far and where to go from here with your ideation.

What's next?

In this lecture, I'll give reasons why you should and shouldn't brainstorm with other people and the do's and don'ts that you should be aware of when brainstorming with other people.

Brainstorming do's and don'ts

This lecture summarizes the key takeaway concepts you should grasp about brainstorming your startup idea

Vetting your startup idea
1 Lecture 06:02

In this lecture, I'll go over the 5 steps you should take to vet your startup idea for viability and suitability. I'll introduce some concepts that are not germane to ideation that you should know about, such as market validation, distribution and monetization. I'll be going over these concepts and many more in much greater detail in my upcoming course "Think Like and Entrepreneur".

The 5-step vetting process
Wrap up and Takeaway
5 Lectures 05:24

In this lecture, I'll talk about the opportunity cost of picking the right idea - what it would cost you if you didn't pick the right idea for you to work on.

The right idea and opportunity cost

In this lecture, I'll recap and summarizes idea vs. execution vs. pulling it off.

Idea vs execution vs pulling it off

In this lecture, I'll recap and summarize the anatomy of the best startup ideas.

The best startup ideas should have...

In this lecture, I'll recap and summarize what you need to know about fleshing out your idea and brainstorming.

Fleshing out your idea and brainstorming

This is an overall takeaway and wrap up for the course which recaps and summarizes the core concepts discussed in this course.

Wrap up for now
About the Instructor
4.5 Average rating
4 Reviews
1,103 Students
1 Course
Startup advisor and mentor, Founder of Bootstrapcademy

A finance professional turned serial entrepreneur, Judith has been extensively involved with a few startups in recent years as advisor, mentor, strategist, writer and as an all-rounded surrogate co-founder of sorts. Judith is a fervent advocate for bootstrapping startups. She is eager to share the many lessons she has learned along the way and wants to help startup founders bootstrap the smart way, not the hard way.

Rewind quite a few years back, in a prior life across the pond, Judith cut her teeth as a finance professional and management consultant in the City of London. She is a UK Chartered Accountant and did her post-qualification stint in the corporate world with Lloyd's of London as well as with one of the top fund managers in London. Her professional training with a pedigree London firm gave her the opportunity to audit and advise a wide variety of businesses and to hone her business acumen. She chose to indulge in her entrepreneurial streak after leaving her City career behind for the US, advising and helping entrepreneurs, and starting a few startups of her own at the turn of the millennium. She was quick to pivot and move on with the lessons learned. She naturally gravitated towards the startup world after an extended maternity break and found herself drawn to helping other startup founders.

Judith started Bootstrapcademy to shift her focus to helping early stage startup founders at their most vulnerable—venturing into the unknown world of startups and bootstrapping their startups.

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