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If you’re asking which startup to build, not whether to build, you probably have several half-baked ideas and don’t know which one to devote yourself to. Or you have no idea at all.

Max Levchin and Peter Thiel would tell youinnovation is dead and that you should go work on real, world-changing, notable problems. They say too many young companies are solving small problems and creating features. TechCrunch writer Rip Empson would ask you to not build acopycat app. Paul Graham of Y Combinator would tell you to check out instead his list of 30 startup ideas he’s looking to fund.

Or programmer Chris Moyer would tell you, “If you are asking what startup to build, then maybe you are too focused on doing a startup.  Find something you are so passionate about, that this isn’t a question. Then make that. Worry about the startup bit later.”

It’s easy to get trapped and excited by the startup world we read about through the looking-glass of TechCrunch. Too many entrepreneurs focus their time on building things they think are cool or could be the next startup homerun. Stop building to get covered by TechCrunch or get an investment by Fred Wilson.

What are your problems? That’s what you should be working on. Businesses are solutions to problems. Solutions come from ideas. Ideas are hypotheses. These hypotheses need to come from a defined problem. Humans have problems.

There are an infinite amount of ideas out there. I have a list of 100+ web startup ideas that you can poach from, but who knows what problems they solve. There are millions of opportunities to change and disrupt this world. However, most of those opportunities are very small and might only change the world for you or a few (which isn’t a bad thing). Instead of brainstorming ideas, start bybrainstorming problems.

Problems are found in the processes that humans go through everyday. Start keeping notes of everything you do each day and things you observe others doing, at work and at home. Question the processes involved and write a few words explaining each step in the process.

Jack Dorsey of Square questioned the retail purchase process and is now making it simpler and more pleasing for consumers. Dorsey asked why there were so many steps in the process of purchasing something: Why do I have to go into my wallet, pull out a credit card, swipe a credit card, wait awkwardly while a machine checks my authorization, wait for a receipt to print, wait to be handed the receipt from the cashier, sign the receipt, hand over the receipt, be given a hard copy of my receipt, put my credit card back into my wallet, all the while having a big uninviting machine in-between myself and the cashier?

To start observing, start reading status updates by your friends on Facebook and Twitter to see what they are doing and talking about, but don’t fixate entirely on their complaints. There are many processes we all go through everyday that we accept without question, but could be simpler and more user-friendly. Just like that clunky retail purchase process that we all hadn’t questioned until a minute ago.

Help fellow entrepreneurs know your problem. Try this: add one human process you go through either at home or at work to this Quora thread: “What processes do humans experience and what steps are involved in each?” Let’s talk about what problems need to be solved so that one of you can launch a startup to solve them.

Zynga has turned the video game world upside down in its short five-year history. As it’s poised on the verge of a massive initial public offering, the social game startup is now one of gaming’s great success stories.

But its success was never a foregone conclusion. In fact, most game industry veterans didn’t view it as a real game company. Mark Pincus was a four-time entrepreneur, but had no experience in the game industry and had never managed a big company. He was the most unlikely entrepreneur to create a game industry giant.

Now Pincus is set to become a multibillionaire as the largest shareholder in a company that is about to hold on Thursday one of the biggest initial public offerings of the year. Zynga’s billion-dollar IPO, at an $8.9 billion valuation, will be one of the biggest events in gaming history and will make it a financial peer to established rivals like Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard. Through the IPO, Zynga hopes to meet the ambitious goal of investing more “in play than any company in history.”

And it is possible in no small part because Pincus, the gaming novice, dreamed bigger than the game industry when it came to giving users accessible and social games, anytime, anywhere. Against all odds, Zynga has out-competed big gaming brands in the great social game Gold Rush. Zynga games have continuously held the No. 1 ranked spot on Facebook since the beginning of 2009. As of today, it has five of the top five games on Facebook.

Pincus couldn’t have done it on his own. Along the way, he has been helped by the fortuitous friendship of gaming veteran Bing Gordon. Facebook insider Owen Van Natta played a key role at a critical time. And experienced game designers like Mark Skaggs and Brian Reynolds have led the creation of innovative, addictive games, helping the company rise above its early reputation as a creator of cheap knockoffs and a persistent spammer of Facebook news feeds. Together, these people helped Zynga get where it is today, while rivals like Playfish and Playdom decided to take earlier, less lucrative exits.

Since its inception in 2007, Zynga has generated more than $1.5 billion in revenues — a remarkable sum for such a young company. It is now trying to seize the leading share of a $9 billion virtual goods market that it believes could triple in the next five years.

Now the company’s ambition is to become as synonymous with play on the internet as Google is with search, Amazon is with shopping, and Facebook is with sharing. It was lucky that Zynga started out with so little game experience in the beginning. But throughout its life, it would have to prove over and over again that it was a real game company that mattered.

In the following pages, I’ll tell the tale of Zynga from its earliest days. This story is based on extensive interviews and research since 2008. We’ve had limited access to Mark Pincus. In recent months, he hasn’t been giving interviews, due to a quiet period mandated by regulators. But the story of Zynga isn’t just about the founder of the company. It’s also about the whole cast of characters who surrounded him, the rivals who drove him to succeed, and the industry that challenged Zynga to prove itself over and over. We’ve done our best to triangulate on how Zynga became what it is today — and how it almost didn’t happen.

In many ways, it seems like an insurmountably difficult challenge to play the role of Steve Jobs, with his god-like sense of product aesthetics and interactions.

And yet, Apple has hundreds of products and experiences – hardware, software, HR materials,commercials, etc. Steve Jobs certainly doesn’t have time to work on the design of every Apple product, and of course has 35,000 employees to manage. So what does Steve Jobs really do, to create the amazing design culture at Apple?