Frighteningly Ambitious Startup Ideas

Paul Graham wrote this very interesting post a week or so ago about ridiculously hard startup ideas:

One of the more surprising things I’ve noticed while working on Y Combinator is how frightening the most ambitious startup ideas are. In this essay I’m going to demonstrate this phenomenon by describing some. Any one of them could make you a billionaire. That might sound like an attractive prospect, and yet when I describe these ideas you may notice you find yourself shrinking away from them.

Don’t worry, it’s not a sign of weakness. Arguably it’s a sign of sanity. The biggest startup ideas are terrifying. And not just because they’d be a lot of work. The biggest ideas seem to threaten your identity: you wonder if you’d have enough ambition to carry them through.

The weird thing is I didn’t blanch at any of the first five (I have no experience to blanch or not blanch at the last couple). In fact, I have given serious thought to the second one and even have a product idea for carving off a slice of the email market. Honestly, I’m mostly interested in big, world changing ideas and don’t generally see the point of small ones.

I guess this means I’m insane? I’m sure there are a few of you out there who know me nodding in agreement about now.