2. Generating, Screening, and Developing Ideas

Idea Generation and Testing at Idealab

At Idealab, a generation of new ideas and companies has turned into a multihundred-million-dollar business. Bill Gross, who had created a number of companies since his early school days, realized that his skills at generating ideas (from speakers, to Lotus Hal and Magellan, to the extremely successful Knowledge Adventure’s Jump Start learning series) could be codified and used to incubate many successful companies. Since 1996, almost 500 ideas have been tried, leading to dozens of successful companies, including CitySearch, Overture Services (the creator of the paid search market), and Internet Brands (CarsDirect.com and other Internet services).

The key methodologies ...

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