David Perell

David Perell quotes on innovation

"The Writing Guy". He tweet about business, online learning, and Internet writing.

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Startup idea: A dating app that matches you based on your taste in music, movies, and books.


Everybody takes screenshots. But nobody has a good way to organize them. Screenshots might be a billion dollar product opportunity. 💰


A Harvard paper found a relationship between alcohol and innovation. ∙ States that prohibited alcohol during the Prohibition produced ~8-18% fewer patents per year. ∙ Bar innovation happens not just because of collaboration, but also because people are exposed to new ideas.


We keep inventing things that save us time, but it feels like we have less time than ever before


Wikipedia is one of the best inventions of all-time. The vast majority of people would benefit from turning off the TV, closing their Internet tabs, throwing away the newspaper, and reading Wikipedia instead. Wikipedia is a top-tier education. In your pocket. For free.


If I ran an investment fund, I’d have a simple thesis: • People are increasingly willing to pay for productivity software. • Online learning is about to explode because we’re losing faith in the traditional college system. • It’s becoming easier to monetize social capital.


Free startup ideas: ∙ Replace LinkedIn with a global, portfolio-first job board. The platform should actually help you find jobs. ∙ A school where people graduate with a profitable business. ∙ Matching service for personal assistants who handle all chores and mundane tasks.


A/B testing is over-rated. If you want to build something innovative, follow your intuition. Skip the market research and bet on a bold vision of the future.


In the future, there will be two ways to work: Computers tell you what to do, or you tell computers what to do


If you want to make a living on the Internet, invent a name for what you do. Build expertise. Find your unique perspective. Coin your own term. Then, tell the world about it.


Customer service should be the most innovative team in a business


Aim to solve problems and you’ll be innovative, but if you aim to be innovative, you won’t necessarily solve problems


Innovation is less about making new things and more about combining things in new ways.


Lessons from running my business: 1) Email marketing is like plumbing. It’s not sexy, but you need it to work. 2) You don’t always need to innovate. Learn from the best, and do what they do. 3) There’s a direct correlation between how hard you work and how successful you are.


Forgotten ideas are an unfair advantage. Don’t try to invent everything yourself. Studying the past will help you solve your hardest problems. Places to look: • Theory of Constraints • Xerox PARC • The Apollo Space Program • Mid-20th century media theory


When you compete to be the best, you imitate. When you compete to be unique, you innovate. Aim to be unique.


Free business idea. A market place for high-quality copy editors. Here’s why it’s worth considering: 1) Most people enjoy writing, but need help with editing. 2) Even in the age of the Internet, it’s surprisingly hard to find good editors. 3) Editors can work 100% remotely.


THE PARADOX OF SPECIFICITY On the internet, the narrower your brand, the more opportunities come to you. The internet is best matching tool ever invented. Pick an niche. Learn all about it. Share what you learn by writing online. And watch your life improve.


Building a note-taking system makes you feel like Bradley Cooper in Limitless whenever you start writing


History is filled with moments where science said something was impossible but people did it anyways. My favorite example: Airplanes flew before scientists had a working theory for “heavier than air” flight — when people thought it was impossible.


Somebody’s going to build a health & fitness bundle. It would quantify diet, sleep and fitness. It’d have a central software dashboard with personalized recommendations, a trainer to help me with them, and friends to improve my health with. Business model: Monthly subscription.


Roam and Notion aren’t major competitors. Roam is a programming language for ideas, geared towards individuals. Notion bundles project management, corporate communications and knowledge management, and it’s geared towards teams.


I value rationality less than I once did. Too many innovators follow the compass of intuition and too many important truths are paradoxical in nature.


Online education is classic disruption. In-person education is too expensive, overserves a huge percentage of students, and aspects of online education are already better than the in-person experience.


Businesses I'd start if I had the time: 1) A writing app that actually helps people write. Right now, the top writing apps sell because they're simple. But I want to make one that's helpful. 2) A marketplace for writers to meet intelligent editors who double as writing coaches.


Products that should exist: 1) A spaced-repetition learning platform that’s fun to use. 2) Writing software to decrease confusion, increase interestingness, and 10x writing speed. 3) Wearable health tracker with fast feedback loops to provide preventative care for everybody.


Free business idea: Job boards for influencers. Influencers have big audiences of like-minded people. They attract job seekers, but don’t want to manage technical stuff. Build software. Run customer service. Beatiful design is the cherry on top. Very profitable business too.


Two-steps to improve the quality of your work. Step 1: Share your work in public. Step 2: Sell your best work. The free market is the best learning machine ever invented.


Opportunities arise when the world flips. • Our parents told us not to post online. Now personal brands are an asset. • Global shipping used to be expensive. Now it’s cheap. • Before phones, long-distance communication was expensive. Now it’s free. Keep your eyes open.


Idea: Show notes for conversations. The app listens to your conversations, and curates a list of links mentioned, people referenced, and books recommended. Monetize with advertising or subscription revenue. Free version for consumers. Paid version for businesses.


Computer mouses are a weird historical blip. Our grandchildren will wonder why we ever used them, and they'll seem as weird to them the telegram does to us. Computer-human interaction will be dominated by touch and voice.

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