Nathan Berry, continuing his Web App Challenge project:

Sorry to burst your bubble, but an idea you come up with is a terrible place to start a new business. The reason is that businesses need to make money if they are to be sustainable. To make money a business needs customers. Customers don’t pay for ideas; they pay for their problems to be solved. So rather than looking for an idea for what to build, you should be looking for a painful problem that you can solve. People will pay to make pain go away. The more painful and frustrating the problem is, the more they will pay.

What his blog post hits on is the practical aspect of jobs to be done. You can’t start a new project looking for an idea, a project should start by solving a real job.

A comedian once told me that a great joke never starts with an idea for a joke (“Hey, it’d be funny if…”). Instead, it starts with taking something mundane and giving it a unique perspective. It’s the same with project ideas.