Stop waiting for that one idea

Me and my friends have spent these past three years doing our regular university assigments and working on small personal programming projects on the side. Nothing ambitious or serious, because we were always waiting for – and discussing about – that “one idea” that we would eventually have. A great idea worth focussing on, worth spending all of our time with and worth sending it out to the world.

And now here we are, three years later and still not working on a project together. I think it’s time to think differently.

Ideas can be great and deceiving at the same time. You think you would like to have a tool that does this and that for you – why not build that yourself? Five minutes of Google later you have a list of three projects that solve that exact problem. Sigh.

But wait. Does everything you build necessarily need to reinvent the wheel? It would be great if it did, but which idea has ever done that? What if you realize that all major inventions you think of (telephone, plane, car, google, …) weren’t really fresh ideas but rather good combinations of existing concepts or improvements of existing systems that tried to solve the same problem?

It has taken me a while, but now I am aware of one central fact: You do not have to find a problem no one has ever solved, you just have to come up with a better solution. With that new realization in mind I am more eager than ever to just sit down and build something – and to create good solutions for problems I experience along the way.

Just get started and try to be as good as possible. You won’t create something perfect from the start, so just keep practicing. You will fail, so just pick up the pieces, move on and start fresh. And that’s what I’ll do now.