important than turning off the unsexy filter, because the schlep filter is more likely to be an illusion. For example, anyone reasonably smart can probably get to an edge of programming (e.g. Structurally the idea is stone soup: you post a sign saying "this is the place for people interested in x and all those people show up and you make money from them. The best source of"s are the textbooks youre using, but if youre still stumped, try: Define key terms, another good way to open an essay is to define any key terms in the question. You know there's demand, and people don't say that about things that are impossible to build. If you look at the way successful founders have had their ideas, it's generally the result of some external stimulus hitting a prepared mind. Paul Buchheit says that people at the leading edge of a rapidly changing field "live in the future." Combine that with Pirsig and you get: Live in the future, then build what's missing. If you know a lot about programming and you start learning about some other field, you'll probably see problems that software could solve. At Harvard that is (or was) Reading Period, when students have no classes to attend because they're supposed to be studying for finals. Among other things, it ensures the problem really exists. Live in the future and build what seems interesting.
Alpha Student How to start an essay : the opening sentence
When Rajat Suri of E la Carte decided to write software for restaurants, he got a job as a waiter to learn how restaurants worked. When you find the right sort of problem, you should probably be able to describe it as obvious, at least to you. You could serve them targeted offers, and maybe charge for premium features. And while young founders are at a disadvantage in some respects, they're the only ones who really understand their peers. Best of all is when you can say that they didn't have the courage of their convictions, and that your plan is what they'd have done if they'd followed through on their own insights. If you knew about all the things we'll get in the next 50 years but don't have yet, you'd find present day life pretty constraining, just as someone from the present would if they were sent back 50 years in a time machine. It was common in the 1990s, except then people who had it used to say they were going to create a portal for x instead of a social network for. Organic ideas feel like inspirations. At YC we're excited when we meet startups working on things that we could imagine know-it-alls on forums dismissing as toys. Google is an immense crater: hundreds of millions of people use it, and they need it a lot. But even then, not immediately.