Buffer Founder and CEO Joel Gascoigne believes that bad ideas are actually a blessing:
In addition to our own minds suggesting we should stop working on our idea, in the early stages a startup is so fragile that it is very easy for others to influence us. If someone remarks that our idea isn’t useful to them, or that we should do something else, or that we should get a “proper job”, it can easily make us stop and think.
The key is to keep working, even when the initial idea doesn’t seem useful or beneficial. Your mind can trick you before the results are in, but persevering can have incredible payoffs, for three big reasons:
You earn experience:
Unless you are extremely lucky (and there is luck involved in startups), the chances are that you won’t hit the jackpot first time around. It took me a few tries, and in the process I learned a massive amount. I often call my previous not so successful startup my “required learning” which led me to have more success with Buffer.
You are doing something:
I think it is very powerful to have something you’re actively working on which is your own. Maybe you call it a project, maybe a startup, but something beyond “work” means that you have something to drive you.
This “something” can be what causes you to reach out to someone key for your success, or attend an event, or even offer to speak at an event. All these kinds of activities create serendipity which can have a huge impact.
Iteration = better ideas
Sometimes through iteration you uncover learning which invalidates your idea or some key assumptions. At the same time, this means that further iteration can also lead to the exact opposite: uncovering an idea or features which people want and will gain traction.
Check out the rest of Joel’s insights here.