Why Startups Should Generate Absolutely Crazy Ideas Every Single Day

Joe Procopio
6 min readMay 7, 2020

Great products don’t happen by accident, but sometimes they start with a joke.

One night back in 2010, at a startup awards dinner, I was seated with a few of my peers, and I joked that the only time I’d had a beer in my hand lately was at a startup event — so I should start my own startup event, just to have an excuse to drink more often. It wouldn’t have any agenda, just entrepreneurs and beer.

A woman across the table, whom I did not know, told me that she knew I was joking, but it sounded like a good idea, and she had just moved her company into an awesome space that had an event room. By the end of the dinner, everyone around the table was pushing me to follow through on my joke.

I had to admit there was some merit to this crazy idea. Having grown up in New York and having spent a bunch of time in the Valley, I knew that half the problem with our fledgling startup ecosystem was that it wasn’t being run by entrepreneurs, as it had been in those other places.

What if I could sort of… provoke a solution… starting with entrepreneurs just coming together and having a few beers.

The result, ExitEvent, developed quickly after that, and it became wildly successful before being acquired three years later. But in the end, ExitEvent’s own exit had almost nothing to do with the event from which it sprang.

And that’s my point.

Crazy ideas are everywhere

The more cynical among us entrepreneurs tend to look down on ideas. Ideas are cheap; everyone has a million of them, and they mean nothing until you execute on them. But we shouldn’t forget how important perpetual ideation is to the process of building a product.

Great products are usually built from ideas that seem crazy at the time. And truth be told, those ideas are usually exactly as crazy as they sound. But with constant ideation and iteration, what starts out as something laughable can turn into something amazing.

Look, there’s no such thing as a billion-dollar idea. In fact, that kind of “magic seed” thinking is what dooms most potentially great products in the first place. It’s extraordinarily rare for an idea to…

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Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building TeachingStartup.com & GROWERS. Write at Inc.com and BuiltIn.com. More at joeprocopio.com