How Do I Come Up With New Startup Ideas That No One Has Thought of Before?

On Quora a while ago, I answered the question which forms the title for this blog post. Below is an unedited version of the answer which I gave.

Don’t obsesses with coming up with something new and novel. Bother yourself with providing a service in a way which no one has done so before and also in a way which is hard for people to copy.

If you take a look at some of the biggest startup success stories of the past 15–20 years such as Facebook, Google, Uber. and even Airbnb, they never were new ideas. People had tried these ideas or thing similar before and failed or failed to innovate. These new companies simply learnt from their experience and began offering a better service. For example, before Facebook, there was MySpace; before Google, there was (and still is) Yahoo; and before Uber, ride sharing services existed around the world in different forms.

What these companies did is that they simply provided value in a way which no one has before and did it in a way which is hard for others to do. For example, in the case of Google and Uber, what makes them hard to copy are their algorithms.