Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Aha Moments

In the process of building a company there are what I call "Aha Moments." Aha moments for me are short periods of time that hit me like a stroke of clarity.

You may have had several great ideas for new businesses. My friend Ethan likes to say that the first ten minutes of thinking about a new business are the best, than holes begin to be punched and soon the idea sinks like a ship destined for the bottom of the ocean. This Aha moment doesn't stick, but real ones do.

A few ideas will get past this ten minute honeymoon period and possibly turn into products or entire companies. With Hubpages I've had a few Aha Moments. Here are my top three rough accounts of how they happened...

  1. I'm sitting in my office chair in the garage working on some product planning. A rush of excitement comes over me. I envision a product that does less better. I say to Jay (co founder of Hubpages),"I've got it all figured out for the product." Jay looks at me in anticipations and I say "The product has to be super simple to use." Jay looks at me and shakes his head as if he was expecting waves of wisdom to poor out. However, Paul Deeds (co founder) says in his quiet style, "It's hard to make things simple." This is true, and this was a huge Aha Moment. I know, it seems super simple.
  2. This was big and it just hit me last week. Paul and Jay both play poker. So, I thought I might give it a try. Paul has a large collection of poker books and he handed me one on How to Win in Low Limit Holdem. Learning to play poker is interesting, but even more interesting is an idea the book gave me about playing to your strengths. I like the idea of focusing on what you do best. Our team loves making money on the internet. It may sound funny, but it's a passion of ours. We talk about it all the time. All the different ways you can make money online. The Aha moment is we need to play more to our strengths and focus on building great tools that allow people to make money online. Now, this wasn't far from where we were, or where we are going, but it was important that it was said and discussed and it influences product decisions. When it comes time to answer important product questions, I'll ask, does this play to our strengths?
  3. The third I owe to Amy. Jay's fiance. She said in an email, "....My argument there is that you need to start giving yourselves some sort of personality or voice." When I read this comment it made perfect sense. She was so dead on. Products and companies need to have a personality and we need to start developing it. It's a tone. Something that says we are people and we know you're are people as well. The site needs to become an extension of our customers and we want real people with real personalities to use it. So from now on we are giving our site a personality. I can't wait to introduce her to you. I know you will like her.

1 comment:

wrager said...

Aha moments are the best. I just with I had more of them.