1. Is this idea something we would be proud to recommend to friends and family?
Following a “don’t do bad things” doctrine seems like a great foundation for any company, but what exactly does that mean and does it allow too much wiggle room? We decided the best way to assess a company’s moral worth was that it must be something that we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to the people close to us. Put simply, we don’t want to do anything that could be construed as being immoral, illegal, or otherwise icky.
2. What is the potential ROI? Is it big? It’s got to be big.
The entire notion of “big” is key here. Anything we do must target large markets ripe for disruption. If we are going to spend our time, energy and money on an idea, we need to focus our efforts on large opportunities.
3. Can we add a lot of value in small increments of time?
We have many 10-minute windows in our calendars. All too often these are wasted. We want to apply these opportunities to a project as often as we can to quickly iterate on through to creating a profitable company.
4. This isn’t a moonshot, is it?
We love big, world-changing ideas, but we’ve been burned before when investing in bleeding-edge technologies. The risks are too high and the timelines too nebulous. Instead, we want to meet a need that exists today. This means developing projects that riff on brilliant hacks to existing technologies and setting goals where progress can be measured.
5. Can this become cashflow-positive in 12 months?
The simplest measure of success for a business is whether or not it can make money. Any company we launch should become profitable within 12 months, not some ever-elusive future date.
6. Is this something we can build and scale quickly?
We don’t want to build a lifestyle company that we’ll stick with for years to come. We want to focus on companies that can grow quickly and scale.