As many of you will know, my day job is working for AdMob. I was actually lucky enough to be the first person Omar Hamoui, AdMob’s Founder and CEO, employed 3 years ago and it was mainly through writing this blog that we connected.
Over 80 Billion ads and 3 years later, we’ve come along way since then, have over 100 employees and a valuation at least in the hundreds of million dollar range. Indeed, Ron Conway, legendary Valley angel investor (among his portfolio is Facebook, Twitter, Digg and AdMob, of course) was kind enough to suggest last week that we were good for an IPO when the market comes back next year.
With success like this and the profile that comes with it, Omar gets asked by friends and aspiring entrepreneurs for some of the lessons he’s learned along the way. This prompted him to curate these snippets into a list, which he can add to from time to time and which he can share when appropriate. I think there’s some gems in there, so I asked if I could share with MobHappy readers as I thought you’d appreciate them.
Rather than publish them all at once, I’ll put them up as short series of posts in the next week or so and I’ve classified them into topics. This one is about how you come up with a great idea for a company or product, so perhaps you can use them to create your own multi-million dollar company.
Finally, before we get stuck in, no one (least of all Omar) is suggesting that all these are necessarily stunningly original, but they are observations as to what Omar has found to be especially true along the way.
Solve your own problem
The best solutions will come when you are working to solve a problem that is deeply impacting you. Avoid solutions in search of a problem.
Russell adds: The idea for AdMob came when Omar found it very hard to market a mobile service that he’d launched. If you’re interested about what that was, I wrote about it back in 2005. In retrospect, I am very pleased that I liked his original concept, otherwise things might have worked out very differently for me and AdMob!
The first idea is probably the most important
Many great businesses were built on the back of one fundamental insight. Much of the rest is just execution.
You shouldn’t have to push
You want an idea that gains traction and accelerates on its own after you give it the first push. If you have to continuously infuse energy to help it grow, you should probably go back to the drawing board.
Pay no attention to common knowledge
Too many people claim to know too much. The largest opportunities are found in ideas that go against the grain.
Try often, fail fast
What you are doing is wrong most of the time. Don’t spend too long examining every rock. If it’s really a diamond you’ll know.
Businesses make money
Think about the business model from the start.
Russell adds: This is a school of thought and one that’s very popular in times of recession. For an alternative view, see Linked In’s Reid Hoffman, who says it’s all about users and you’ll figure a way to make money later. Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, all have enjoyed very high valuations, but the jury is still out as to how/if they’ll ever generate significant revenues.
Break the speed breakers
Whatever is slowing you down isn’t helping. If you KNOW the launch will do damage, then investigate. If you don’t know what it will do, then go faster so you can find out. If something ALWAYS slows you down, get rid of it.
Next time, I’ll post Omar’s thoughts on deal making.