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NOTABLE! How do you generate ideas?

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Why? Isn't one idea enough? Do you want to be rich? Or do you want to be an artist?
 

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df1992

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Are you keeping an idea journal? Are you writing it all down? That really helps me

I have large notepad which is basically my idea notepad. I prefer having a large one as if I have an idea I start drawing it out and it really helps me to visualise it.

'm re-reading your post after a while... What have you done with the ideas you came up with day after day? Are you still coming up with 10 ideas every day? Have you started a new business? Have you invented a new product? Have you figured out how to make your bed every day and pick up after yourself -- if so, I have some men in my life for you share with! Have you changed your thinking about the world? Is this exercise an end unto itself? What are the trends in your idea log? Have you identified some progressive lines of thinking -- where one idea leads to another? Has that caused any break-through ideas to come out?

I don't try for your kind of volume of ideas. But, I am a great observer of the world around me. I like to marry two or more stand-alone ideas. My favorite definition of genius is the person who takes common elements and puts them together or uses them in unique ways. I want to be that person.

I haven't come up with 10 ideas each day, but I am achieving it every other day and it's led me to start a new podcast which I'm recording first next week and I have an idea that I'm starting to build out for a subscription business. Both these ideas stemmed from writing down ideas and getting the creative juices flowing.

Marrying two stand-alone ideas can make you come up with some weird and wonderful stuff!!
 

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I have large notepad which is basically my idea notepad. I prefer having a large one as if I have an idea I start drawing it out and it really helps me to visualise it.



I haven't come up with 10 ideas each day, but I am achieving it every other day and it's led me to start a new podcast which I'm recording first next week and I have an idea that I'm starting to build out for a subscription business. Both these ideas stemmed from writing down ideas and getting the creative juices flowing.

Marrying two stand-alone ideas can make you come up with some weird and wonderful stuff!!
I find that my creative ideas come in groups... they are threads that lead to new ideas and ways of thinking. Go back and study your lists. Look for trends and relationships. Sleep on it. Daydream. Give yourself the time and space for your mind to work through the possibilities. The process takes quiet contemplation. Just don't force the process. I LOVE those ah-ha moments when things finally come together.
 

Ryan Peterson

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Hi Everyone,

I'm on a mission to become an idea machine and I'm challenging myself to come up with 10 ideas everyday. I'm curious to see how you might come up with ideas.

Here's how I do it so far:
  • Idea sex: mix two random products together = ?'s
  • Problem based: Either through my own problems, or asking questions to friends and families about their problems
  • "Wouldn't it be great if....".... finish the sentence with what product or service you think would be great
  • Imagining the future: What do you think the future will look like and what products and services will need to be around to support it
  • Reverse imagination: What things do we use/or do that people will look back on in 10 years time and think, "wow, that was stupid" (such as reading maps!)
  • Plus just general lists like:
    • Ideas for a podcast
    • Things that annoy me
    • Things that would make me laugh
    • Ideas for TV shows or movies
My aim is to build a strong idea muscle through working it out everyday that I will find an idea that I'll be confident enough to being me to the fastlane.

How do you come up with ideas?
Thoughts for ideas come when you want to improve something or make it easier to use. Expand the consumption of a narrowly directed object and then it will be much easier to come up with an idea.
 

LordGanon

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I have so many ideas, ideas, ideas...it's almost a burden. Because the choice becomes much harder.

Ideas are a dime a dozen. It's execution that counts. When it comes to ideas where I think: "Wow, there's real value to be created", they come from consumer complaints.

Ideas are all around you every day. The important thing you have to teach yourself is awareness. My best source of ideas was one of my ex-girlfriends. She was so often frustrated with the products she used and vented about it. All I had to do was listen.

BTW: A lot of people think they aren't creative. But they are. When I taught business, I sent teams of four outside for an hour, and they had to come back with 20 business ideas. "Impossible", they said. Oh, it is possible. But you have to kill your inner censor. We put 80 ideas on the blackboard and then voted for the best ones. Carl Barks once said: "What made me great was a big garbage bin". Same goes for ideas. Create a lot, and throw a lot of them away.
 

df1992

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I have so many ideas, ideas, ideas...it's almost a burden. Because the choice becomes much harder.

Ideas are a dime a dozen. It's execution that counts. When it comes to ideas where I think: "Wow, there's real value to be created", they come from consumer complaints.

Ideas are all around you every day. The important thing you have to teach yourself is awareness. My best source of ideas was one of my ex-girlfriends. She was so often frustrated with the products she used and vented about it. All I had to do was listen.

BTW: A lot of people think they aren't creative. But they are. When I taught business, I sent teams of four outside for an hour, and they had to come back with 20 business ideas. "Impossible", they said. Oh, it is possible. But you have to kill your inner censor. We put 80 ideas on the blackboard and then voted for the best ones. Carl Barks once said: "What made me great was a big garbage bin". Same goes for ideas. Create a lot, and throw a lot of them away.

Love this, what's your process for validation? I have really become aware that I am talking myself out of EVERY idea I have, it's like I'm waiting for "the one"...

I do have a current concept I'm working on which I am in the process of testing (via surveys, landing pages etc.) but I'm not even sure I know what result I'm looking for...
 

WJK

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Love this, what's your process for validation? I have really become aware that I am talking myself out of EVERY idea I have, it's like I'm waiting for "the one"...

I do have a current concept I'm working on which I am in the process of testing (via surveys, landing pages etc.) but I'm not even sure I know what result I'm looking for...
There are studies that say that too many choices cause people not to focus on one idea or solution. There are books about how people do nothing rather than making a decision. You're human. Forgive yourself and cut your list down to only a few items. Then create a plan and a timeline to try out one of your ideas. There is no perfect idea... nor business... nor plan... nor the time to start...
 

USN-Ken

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Love this, what's your process for validation?

I've validated a number of businesses through pre-selling. That is, give yourself 48 hours to pre-sell 10 of whatever you want to sell. Then, hustle for the next 48 hours.

Offer them a discounted price if they 'buy now.' (that's the incentive to pre-purchase)

If you get 10 SALES in 48 hours then that is your green light to build out the business because you have a winner.

If you get A FEW sales, maybe you didn't try hard enough but just give the few buyers a 100% refund and head back to the drawing board to revamp it (hopefully based on prospect feedback) or simply toss the idea completely.

If you get NO sales then the odds are that you also wouldn't have found any buyers AFTER building out your businesses so move on to the next idea.

Note to the haters before you chime in: Pre-selling is done all the time. When you order from amazon you are paying BEFORE receiving the goods (days later). When you pre-order a book ....its a pre-sale. When you buy an airline ticket for next year's vacation its a pre-sale. If the big dogs are doing it, we little validators can too. ;)

Google 'Noah Kagan beef jerky business.' He did exactly what im saying -- gave himself 24 hours to pre-sell $1,000 in beef jerky subscriptions to validate the idea. He goes into great detail explaining how he did it. Once he hit $1000 in sales he went ahead and found a supplier and built out the business.

A simple tool you can use is a site called gumroad. They let you build out a simple sales page (that is already set up to accept credit card payments and deposits it into your bank account). You literally can build a site in less than 15 minutes (depending on how good you are at sales copy) and start sharing the link to pre-sell / validate. I've validated t-shirts, group coaching, marketing services, and ebooks/manuals using gumroad. They even have a free version where they only take 10% of your sales if -- and thats a big IF -- you can get any sales at all. If you get no sales then it's free. :) ITs a perfect way to validate!

Hope this helps!
 

FierceRacoon

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My problem is too many ideas.

At every job that I worked and for every personal project I have pages and pages and pages of ideas. For my most recent data science job, fortunately, I have had a colleague who is keeping track of my ideas and is actually figuring out, which of them are worth executing on. I found this helps tremendously to get better ideas, when you can just think and talk and the other person will pick it up.

But if you seriously need more ideas, the best approach I know is the "20 idea method". E.g. if you want to know how to better market your product, just sit down and write 20 ideas, and do not stop until you have 20. Every single time I have tried it, by myself or in a group, it has produced at least a couple outstanding ideas.

The most important part is separating judgment from ideation. That is, when you are coming up with 20 ideas or more, do not evaluate them for sanity. As soon as you start evaluating, this stops the process. Even if you want to do both ideation and evaluation by yourself, do it at separate times.
 

eliquid

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Note to the haters before you chime in: Pre-selling is done all the time. When you order from amazon you are paying BEFORE receiving the goods (days later). When you pre-order a book ....its a pre-sale. When you buy an airline ticket for next year's vacation its a pre-sale. If the big dogs are doing it, we little validators can too. ;)

Some of these are a little off.

You are comparing building out a full business, to products already existing and in stock or a service already running.

When I buy from Amazon, the product is "in stock" in their warehouse ( I shop Prime ). They aren't taking my money and then figuring out a way to design, produce, stock, and then ship the product to me. All those systems ( and the product ) already exists.

Same with the airline. The destination already exists, the airports and planes exists, maint. crews and ticket sales process and reservation systems exists. I'm simply defering an existing system. The airlines aren't creating everything and buying the Boeing 737/training pilots once I order.

Your pre-order book is about the best example though.

Of note, I was one of Noah's first buyers of that jerky product years ago. We hit each other up on LinkedIn about it. Honestly, I think he already had someone lined up because I got my jerky pretty damn fast after I paid for it.
 

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MJ DeMarco

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An imperfect world filled with imperfect humans is flush with opportunity. Someone who can't come up with ideas is complicating something that is relatively simple, especially when related to human nature.

I'd also go into value skew, but I'm not going to rehash what is already in print.

Thread marked NOTABLE, some good ideas, book recs, and videos.
 

USN-Ken

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Some of these are a little off.

You are comparing building out a full business, to products already existing and in stock or a service already running.

The comparison wasnt the point.
The point was that pre-selling works!
The haters I was referring to were the ones who are/were going to chime in and say "pre-selling doesnt work." It does. Ive done it a lot. So have many others. There is always some chump with a counterargument ("No one is going to give you money if you dont have a product already").
They are always wrong.
I just acted preemptively. :)

Also, thats funny about the jerky. Interesting, too. But, it was an inspiring demo nonetheless.
 

Canadoz

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How do I get ideas?


Life Experience - The problems we run into in our personal and business lives can be great sources of ideas.

Talking to People - After I left college, I went backpacking around Eastern Europe. My first business idea was the result of a conversation I had at a bar with a fellow backpacker who had just spent a year working in a business in London. The conversation of the challenges the business faced proved to be rich source of business ideas. Talk to people.

Reading - My second business idea came as a result of reading about business strategy and the importance of niches and observation of consumer behaviour patterns in the market. An understanding of business strategy is so important. Understanding how the big boys run their operations and try to decontruct in your mind the nuts and bolts of their business. When you understand the dynamic in which other businesses operate, it gives you a much better feel for a particular market. Even more important is understanding the weaknesses of the big players in your market. They can't possibly service every niche in their market - but a smaller player like you often can.

Tradeshows - My third business idea came from a discussion I had with a totally unrelated business founder at a tradeshow. I was literally passing their stand and said to them "people wouldn't buy that...would they?". It was a the start of a great conversation and new business for me. Again, I cannot stress of the importance of talking to random people, even if they are not in your industry, they can be a great source of ideas. Also, when you talk to someone in the flesh, it makes their business way less abstract compared to reading about it on a website or magazine. You're also less likely to get a curated picture of their business which they gave to a reporter.
 

Marco L

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How did this go in the end?
I am 'stuck' on Day 13, because I am working on a new idea already :) I would say it is an interesting workbook, that uses a lot of the techniques mentioned in this thread in a structured way.
 

themarkboogie

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I was going to be silly and say 'Ok, I am looking around my desk and there is a lamp and a pair of scissors therefore... ' :)

And then I thought I would Google scissors you can use in the dark and hey presto


There are no prices so perhaps they have been discontinued as no real market, but someone gave it a good bash.

Dan
Lol, I love it.
 

loftiness

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The challenge here is how do I stop all these ideas from filling my head & distracting me from what I should be doing?

If we lived to be a thousand & seamlessly executed every idea back to back we still wouldn't be finished by the time we died.
i think the most important word should be "focus". You have decided on an idea. Focus on it till it is executed. There will always be problems to be solved. Finish one before moving to other.
 

kpoa

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Hi Everyone,

I'm on a mission to become an idea machine and I'm challenging myself to come up with 10 ideas everyday. I'm curious to see how you might come up with ideas.

Here's how I do it so far:
  • Idea sex: mix two random products together = ?'s
  • Problem based: Either through my own problems, or asking questions to friends and families about their problems
  • "Wouldn't it be great if....".... finish the sentence with what product or service you think would be great
  • Imagining the future: What do you think the future will look like and what products and services will need to be around to support it
  • Reverse imagination: What things do we use/or do that people will look back on in 10 years time and think, "wow, that was stupid" (such as reading maps!)
  • Plus just general lists like:
    • Ideas for a podcast
    • Things that annoy me
    • Things that would make me laugh
    • Ideas for TV shows or movies
My aim is to build a strong idea muscle through working it out everyday that I will find an idea that I'll be confident enough to being me to the fastlane.

How do you come up with ideas?
Just reading this, I know its been a while since you've posted. Just curious on your progress and what experiences have you had with this?
 

drahz

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Could you please give us the link to this article?

 

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alexkuzmov

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There is some solid advice in this article, but man was it long.

My key takeaways are:

- Exercise your brain by coming up with ideas, writing them down, then exploring them at a later time.
- Most ideas are useless and can be anything, even ideas on how to surprise someone
- Failing quickly is more important than executing quickly (boy is that true...)

What I dont agree with is the way he tries to portray faillure.
Remove the word "fail" from your vocabulary? Everything we do in life is a success?
Then he says: "Most things I try to do don’t work out as I planned", yea thats true, its also true that success without failing doesnt exist.
Not only does it preceed success, it also defines success the way that success defines failing.
If one person ultimately succeeds in some grand plan, failing each step of the way, you could argue that because it all ended well, each of these fails are actually successes in a way.
What if the grand plan doesnt work out?
What if you get other people hurt while trying to acheive something? Fail or success? Who`s point of view counts?
What if you thought it was a good idea to hike up a mountain then get yourself lost and die? Isnt that a collosal faillure?

Point is, dont remove the word "fail" from your vocabulary, this is a stupid advice.
 

drahz

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There is some solid advice in this article, but man was it long.

My key takeaways are:

- Exercise your brain by coming up with ideas, writing them down, then exploring them at a later time.
- Most ideas are useless and can be anything, even ideas on how to surprise someone
- Failing quickly is more important than executing quickly (boy is that true...)

What I dont agree with is the way he tries to portray faillure.
Remove the word "fail" from your vocabulary? Everything we do in life is a success?
Then he says: "Most things I try to do don’t work out as I planned", yea thats true, its also true that success without failing doesnt exist.
Not only does it preceed success, it also defines success the way that success defines failing.
If one person ultimately succeeds in some grand plan, failing each step of the way, you could argue that because it all ended well, each of these fails are actually successes in a way.
What if the grand plan doesnt work out?
What if you get other people hurt while trying to acheive something? Fail or success? Who`s point of view counts?
What if you thought it was a good idea to hike up a mountain then get yourself lost and die? Isnt that a collosal faillure?

Point is, dont remove the word "fail" from your vocabulary, this is a stupid advice.

I found this article about a year ago and I actually stick to the routine of bringing ideas daily even to the point of forcing myself to bring something to fullfil those 10 ideas.

I was doing that for 6 months and after that I stopped because I did not see a real benefit. All of the ideas I generated was just ideas, most of them very bad, some of them unreal.

Anyway, ideas are still just ideas and they will not research the market for you or bring you real needs you can solve. I think being an "observation machine" or "market research machine" might work better for bringing a real business.

And one think I learned about the author is that you have to take everything he says or write about with a grain of salt. He is a phenomenal marketer and he is shamelessly selling anything to anyone all the time. If you subscribe to his mailing list you will see all the market glitches, new apple business which is about to disrupt everything, one time a life crypto opportunities, and much more.
 

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I don't try to come up with ideas. I try to help people. Some will say I sound like a stuck record, but there's a reason I keep bringing this up.

Challenge yourself to help 3 people each day instead of have 10 ideas a day.

Why? Business is about adding value, and getting paid. Helping people = Adding value. Having ideas is not adding value.

If I had to point you to one thing it would be this:


The amazing thing when you start helping people is that you'll eventually get better at helping people with similar problems. You'll specialise in helping people with those problems, and start becoming an authority as @eliquid suggests. If you want to grow a business then you'll help people / add value so that you get paid. As soon as you're getting paid you're on your way. As you get more and more experience helping people using your skillset then you'll get more than 10 ideas a day naturally - all related to helping those people more.

I challenge you to get paid helping someone this week. If you can't get paid, then at least go help someone this week.
I remember when I was in the university in my final year and I had to submit 3 prospective names for my final project title, everyone in my department had to do that and there was this ridiculous line of about 200 students all trying to submit 3 names to a lady who had to verify if those names had already been taken. I remember when it was my turn, she had this tremendously frightening frown on her face, I made up my mind that moment I was going to help her. I ended meeting a friend of mine that was in the computer science department and we worked together to create a search database where she could just put in the names of the project on the pc and verify if they'd been taken, we created a program, sold it the department and solved the problem.

I still remember the look on her face when we installed the software and taught her how to use it, she had this huge smile on her face, like she couldn't believe someone created this for her, it was an amazing feeling.

That was also the first time I realized I could earn money by solving a problem and also help someone at the same time.
 

WJK

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I don't try to generate ideas for the sake making lists of ideas. That, to me, is putting cart before the horse. I try to notice a problem or sticking point, big or small. Then I start asking questions. Will enough people be willing pay for a solution? In other words, is there are market? Then the next step is to come up with an idea, or list of ideas, that create that solution. And I don't force the process of coming up with the ideas. Before I go to sleep, I think through the problem and ask my brain for ideas on how to solve it. I keep a pad and pencil next to my bed to write down the answer(s). And, the rest of the time, I just wait for the answer to come. It always does one way or another.
 

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I remember when I was in the university in my final year and I had to submit 3 prospective names for my final project title, everyone in my department had to do that and there was this ridiculous line of about 200 students all trying to submit 3 names to a lady who had to verify if those names had already been taken. I remember when it was my turn, she had this tremendously frightening frown on her face, I made up my mind that moment I was going to help her. I ended meeting a friend of mine that was in the computer science department and we worked together to create a search database where she could just put in the names of the project on the pc and verify if they'd been taken, we created a program, sold it the department and solved the problem.

I still remember the look on her face when we installed the software and taught her how to use it, she had this huge smile on her face, like she couldn't believe someone created this for her, it was an amazing feeling.

That was also the first time I realized I could earn money by solving a problem and also help someone at the same time.
Well done. I imagine that lady had to do that every year and for loads of courses.

Funny how no-one else in that line thought to help her. Maybe they didn’t notice as they were day-dreaming of making money, or trying to come up with business ideas.
 

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Well done. I imagine that lady had to do that every year and for loads of courses.

Funny how no-one else in that line thought to help her. Maybe they didn’t notice as they were day-dreaming of making money, or trying to come up with business ideas.
You can just imagine, it was a nightmare of a job for her, it was also one of those solutions that just felt so simple and obvious at the time, I always thought about why others who were more academically brilliant didn't spot it.

It was also a lesson that I didn't have to be the best student to help someone and provide value, I just needed to solve someone else's problem
 

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You can just imagine, it was a nightmare of a job for her, it was also one of those solutions that just felt so simple and obvious at the time, I always thought about why others who were more academically brilliant didn't spot it.

It was also a lesson that I didn't have to be the best student to help someone and provide value, I just needed to solve someone else's problem
Brilliant.

Opportunity hidden in plain sight. Isn’t that usually the case? Yet somehow we (I) often are so focused on what’s bothering me, that opportunity like this is missed.

Taking a little time for reflection and then asking the right questions - opens up a world of opportunities.
 

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I remember when I was in the university in my final year and I had to submit 3 prospective names for my final project title, everyone in my department had to do that and there was this ridiculous line of about 200 students all trying to submit 3 names to a lady who had to verify if those names had already been taken. I remember when it was my turn, she had this tremendously frightening frown on her face, I made up my mind that moment I was going to help her. I ended meeting a friend of mine that was in the computer science department and we worked together to create a search database where she could just put in the names of the project on the pc and verify if they'd been taken, we created a program, sold it the department and solved the problem.

I still remember the look on her face when we installed the software and taught her how to use it, she had this huge smile on her face, like she couldn't believe someone created this for her, it was an amazing feeling.

That was also the first time I realized I could earn money by solving a problem and also help someone at the same time.
Well done. I imagine that lady had to do that every year and for loads of courses.

Funny how no-one else in that line thought to help her. Maybe they didn’t notice as they were day-dreaming of making money, or trying to come up with business ideas.
Or just use Excel. It has numerous functions to help find names and tag them for verification:

You can use Ctrl + F for the Find and Replace box to find individual names...

Or =IF(ISNUMBER(MATCH(B2,A:A,0)),1,0) to tag items that are already in the list with '1', and those that aren't with '0'

On a side note, I didn't know how technologically backwards I was until I had to learn Excel in university...and they weren't even macros. Just your basic shit like pivot tables.

Excel should be amongst the first things taught in high school computer classes...but in my country, the few schools I know that do just forced kids to memorize coding jargon WITHOUT THE f*ckING COMPUTER.
(I know because I talked to a niece of mine)

If staff in a university don't know how to do Excel sheets, the whole place must be closed down immediately and all the money refunded to the students.
 

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Or just use Excel. It has numerous functions to help find names and tag them for verification:

You can use Ctrl + F for the Find and Replace box to find individual names...

Or =IF(ISNUMBER(MATCH(B2,A:A,0)),1,0) to tag items that are already in the list with '1', and those that aren't with '0'

On a side note, I didn't know how technologically backwards I was until I had to learn Excel in university...and they weren't even macros. Just your basic shit like pivot tables.

Excel should be amongst the first things taught in high school computer classes...but in my country, the few schools I know that do just forced kids to memorize coding jargon WITHOUT THE f*ckING COMPUTER.
(I know because I talked to a niece of mine)

If staff in a university don't know how to do Excel sheets, the whole place must be closed down immediately and all the money refunded to the students.
I should really create that Excel course.

For many SaaS products, their main competitor is Excel.
 

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