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solutions to problems individuals face in their own lives. Look at the problems you face in your own life, see how you solve them, and then consider whether this might be the basis for a business. Here’s two examples of businesses that started in exactly this way:

  • Emoonlighter (now The two cofounders, Professor Kannon Srinvasan of Carnegie-Mellon, and Inder Guglani, a former student of Srinvasan’s, were discussing the difficulty Srinvasan was having in finding freelance talent to fulfill client requests for supplements to his consulting work. They subsequently concluded that the solution to Srinvasan’s problem represented a substantial business opportunity: an online marketplace connecting freelancers with employer projects.

  • Lars Hundley, the founder and sole employee of this online ecologically-oriented retail store for gardening was renting a home and responsible for its yard maintenance. He did not want to invest in an expensive gas-powered lawn mower. He found an inexpensive push mower at Home Depot, and subsequently wondered whether other people with an interest in the environment would share his enthusiasm for human powered mowers and related gardening items.

If you are still skeptical, here’s another source. Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital is generally regarded as one of the most astute venture capital investors of the past few decades. He has participated in funding Cisco, Yahoo!, and Apple Computer. Moritz shares my belief. While writing in a special issue of Newsweek, he said, “Companies often get started by people who develop a product for themselves or their close friends. It’s almost accidental that their product becomes something that

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GO IT ALONE! Copyright 2004 by Bruce Judson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.