Paul Graham of YCombinator makes what I think is an amazing post where he, well, I'll let him tell you...
When we read Y Combinator applications there are always ideas we're hoping to see. In the past we've never said publicly what they are. If we say we're looking for x, we'll get applications proposing x, certainly. But then it actually becomes harder to judge them: is this group proposing x because they were already thinking about it, or because they know that's what we want to hear?
We don't like to sit on these ideas, though, because we really want people to work on them. So we're trying something new: we're going to list some of the ideas we've been waiting to see, but only describe them in general terms.
Now, just on the surface this is an impressive idea. One of the biggest questions when considering whether to break out on your own is the question of "is there anyone interested in funding this?" Sure there's the occasional case of people who are brash enough to go into a VC meeting with just an idea and their wits but for most there's a lot of time and effort that goes into refining a pitch. You'd be amazed how much of a difference it can make just knowing there's someone out there looking for what you're trying to sell.
But there's more to this story.
What I think is even more important about this post is the fact that, at 5 pages long, its still pretty incomplete. People in technology seem to get fixated on a few ideas. Photo Sites, Portals, video sites, and a few other niche products seem to dominate the discourse. You almost forget there's anything else out there.
But if you look outside of that self imposed box you see there's so very much left to do in technology. One example, tonight I was out at a bar to see a friend's band.
Now I've found that dating someone gives me a tremendous opportunity in bars because rather than be a part of the dating rat race I actually get to observe it as an outsider which is really enlightening. As I watched these poor souls trying to make a connection with each other I couldn't help but reflect on just how backwards a process the whole "bar scene" is.
People randomly picking other people in the hope that physical attraction will somehow indicate a deeper compatibility even though there's no reason it should. It's our oldest institution (finding a mate) and yet the process is so ridiculous it's a wonder it works at all.
Yet there are literally thousands of ways technology can make that same process a million times easier. Imagine a world where, through a simple wireless connection and a database of various interests, you could walk into a bar and know exactly who you were most compatible with. Or for that matter know which bar to go to in the first place.
This is just one of the millions of scenarios that technology has just barely scratched the surface of. Technology can literally make just about everything in our world easier while yielding much better results.
I realize this will sound a bit cheesy but it really is an amazing time to be alive.