Most of the tasks I have ever accomplished at work can be summed up into one: solving customers' problems. The problems differed along the journey, so as the customers (sometimes it was just my boss) but overall it only boiled down to this simple thing: customer has an issue X, I fix it, we sometimes celebrate and move to the next one on the list. But, funnily to me, when it comes to finding problems that could become a business, my inspiration just vanishes. Why so? Having been exposed to industry specific roadblocks whose solutions I've helped design got sold for good money, I should not even have to *think* about it right? Still, it's like my mind suddently falls into blindness.
This is not to say that all ideas are worth the same, especially when considering to launching a start-up. But for the few ideas that got grinded enough to get promoted as valid candidates, that silent inner shadow still remains and drags me out of my will. Which seems close to to risk aversion or analysis paralysis on the surface, but I also sense that's not the entire story. Having put some time thoughts to it, I came to identify that this all about self-confidence, manifesting through two different biases.
Inflation works with ideas too, making them look way more costly than they really are: you were tasked with an interesting issue, cracked it and move forward. You perceive that this issue could also be faced by the same persona, other customers in the same industry. And now that you have the solution ready, it should be fairly easy to test this by just going knocking to those potential customers doors (or simpy through linkedin). But then the doubts start ramping, other companies cannot possibly have that same, exact issue. Would the solution still works? It's pretty sure that those candidate leads would have a different architecture that would require way more engineering to the solution to make it work for them. And the list goes on, reaching my cortex faster than if it was wired to chatGPT. Because going from employee's solution to building a business out of it looks scary and hard. Which it must be. But the hard part only comes after you validated the problem, and it has never been easier to assess the response of potential users before even starting to consider to file for an LLC. Still, as irrational as it is, the bigger the inflation, the further the solution fades away.
The snarky other bias I have been experienced is that I tend to be forgetful of the pain. Once a solution has been designed and deployed, from the moment the issue gets fixed, the pain associated with it starts to decrease in my souvenir. Sometimes, I get the feeling we could almost become friends you know. No matter how hard or stressful it was to endure its existence, the disappearance of a bug makes it look way more sympathetic to me and my brain. We'd talk about it with colleagues, pay tribute to its challenging nature and pride ourselves for having overcame it. And then? Move to the other one in the list. And then, some months later, I would find myself looking out for problems to solve as the starting point of a business idea. Even better, I would look into industries I know nothing about instead of considering the history of issues I have the chance to approach, understand and tackle. Which would inevitably, with reason this time, drags me back to the first point listed above.
I don't have any solutions for this yet, apart from acknowledging it. Regarding self-confidence, working among and with great mentors and inspiring colleagues helps a lot. Just wanted to share that for now.