3 months ago I was talking to whole lot of doctors.
I was talking to our pediatrician for the needs of my older kids, our gynecologist for my wife’s pregnancy, my surgeon for my impending operation, more doctors to get the clearances needed for me to push through with the operation, and even visited a few confined loved ones and friends.
I was in and out of hospitals and hospital clinics. A good chunk of this time I spend waiting.
What did I do to pass the time?
I couldn’t help but be an entrepreneur.
First, I noticed that for all the clinics of the new doctors I saw, the secretary asked me to manually fill up a patient’s form. Curious, I asked the secretaries if I would need to fill up another form if I went to the doctor’s other clinics in other hospitals. All of them said yes, I’d need to fill up another one.
Meanwhile, for my existing doctors, they’d pull out my file from a huge cabinet.
Instead of sitting down to wait, I decided to get up and peer in other clinics to see if they used desktops for filing records. Very very few of them had desktops. One secretary I saw was manually encoding the recently-filled form of a patient into the desktop.
Interestingly though, I saw a number of tablets used by doctors walking in the lobby. Thinking back, I remembered that a number of doctors who visited during hospital confinement used iPads to document their visits.
The startup thesis forming in my head was: would doctors use tablet-based, mobile-powered clinic application to manage their clinics better?
So I asked my wife (who’s a doctor) for her opinion. I asked my own doctors (I thoroughly quizzed the poor cardiologist who cleared my operation) if they’d buy an app like that. I asked more doctors.
After getting some validation, I told 2 entrepreneurial friends whom I knew would be interested in this sort of idea to brainstorm with me. Excitedly, we eventually developed the idea even further after a couple of meetings over noodles and cake. We’re now set on testing our assumptions more rigorously through a minimum viable product.
Startup ideas are formed by thinking of problems to solve. More specifically, how to skin the cat BETTER than the status quo.
The best way to find opportunities? Observe. Never be shy in talking people. Never assume. Reach out and ask (you’d be surprised – most people LOVED to be asked). This is great way you can uncover some long-standing problems.
Be curious. And then, decide to be even more curious.