Knowing whether an idea is good is tough.

Its tempting to let yourself get caught up in your own self-perpetuating “spin zone”.

On the flip side, there are ideas that nobody thinks are good so how can you tell if you should keep pushing or find something different?

This can apply to anything from business ideas to career changes or writing.

Of course, there are ways to test your ideas, here are a few with their bonuses and drawbacks:

1. Talking to friends. The most common but worst way to do it. People are programed to want to make you like them.

2. Poll your social media following. If you have even a limited audience this can be an easy way to go. But, you’re risking perpetuating the spin zone here. The people that follow you will tend to have similar opinions to you and may incentivized to be generous in their judgements.

3. Talk to trusted advisors. This is different than friends in that these people should be more experienced than you and less emotionally invested in your happiness. Creating a strong set of advisors can be key to making rational decision. That said, this is only as effective as the quality of the people that you choose.

4. Reach out to experts. This could be emailing bloggers with a pitch idea or reaching out people with experience in a field that you are considering a new job. This is much harder as it requires building new relationships and the response rate will be lower than you’d like. If you are persistent it will pay off.

5. Find an existing online community and poll it. This could be a subreddit, a newsletter like betalist or a group on linkedIn. Find the people that will be consuming what you are creating. They will not know you and so will not be charitable. You will get harsh feedback and it will help you make better decisions.

6. Find an offline community and ask. This could mean going to a company you’d like to work at and talking to employees that don’t know you about the company culture. It could mean going to the finding an event with people that might buy your product or read your work and talking to them. This will be difficult. Its hard to find the right community and its hard to ask strangers for feedback. But, it will be the most effective. You will have the opportunity to connect with people who care. You will be able to build a conversation with them that is more meaningful than an online interaction and they will be incentivized to help you.

What other ways do you use to test your ideas or make decisions?

^Day 104/90 468 words

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