Never Say “That was my idea” Again
It may not be the worst feeling in the world, but it always royally sucks when you see an ad or hear about an amazing new product only to realize that it was the exact idea you’ve been tossing around in your head for the past 8 years.
Most likely, you didn’t even have any intention of actually following through on the idea, but it was yours and it’s a crushing blow to see someone else living the dream off of it. You deserved that recognition. You deserved the millions of dollars being shipped into the bank account of this random person who stole your idea without even knowing it.
I’m sure you’ve also felt the ugly stepchild of this feeling - “I should have thought of that.” It was right there in front of my face the whole time. My most recent run in with this variety was mass produced iced coffee. A couple of years ago, GQ magazine showed me, and a quick Google search confirmed, that making iced coffee at home was a laborious and extremely inefficient process. I went through this process all of twice before resorting back to my daily Starbucks run.
Needless to say, I should have seen a market opportunity. Yet it wasn’t until 2 full years later that I was parked on my couch, fast-forwarding through some commercials that it hit me. I rewinded the commercial to see a pre-packaged iced coffee available at a supermarket near me. This was a no brainer. If it hadn’t crushed every ounce of my being right then and there, I would have walked out the door to pick some up at that very moment.
So, how do you avoid falling victim to these awful shoulda, woulda, coulda moments?
The first step is to train yourself to identify opportunities. The moment you start thinking “I wish this worked a little more like this…” you need to get in the habit of turning that thought around and asking “how could I make it work like that?” One of the best ways to start getting in this habit is by recording every idea that pops into your head. Initially, you will have a few per day, but very quickly you will see the numbers rise to dozens per day. Once you train yourself to identify all of your ideas, you’ll be amazed at how many ideas, both incredibly good and embarassingly bad, you have in a given day.
ThunkMob provides a great place to share and track your ideas. You can share your solid ideas publicly and receive valuable feedback and guidance on how to best put them into action and you can post your developing ideas privately, so that they will only be visible to you until you hash them out a bit further.
What are some great ideas you had first? What are some ideas that you should have had first?
Act on Your Idea: Take the First Step - Share Ideas
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take
This near-ubiquitous sports advice translates seamlessly to the world of innovation. While it becomes a bit less eloquent (you eventually bang your head against the wall saying “that was my idea” 100% when you don’t act on your ideas?) the concept itself translates perfectly.
If you don’t act on your ideas, you will never experience the success of one. We’ve previously discussed that there is no such thing as a perfect idea, the key is to act on any good idea and see where it takes you.
Sharing Ideas - Easier Said than Done
Today, we’ll lay out one way that you can turn your next great idea into reality — put it in writing. Writing your idea down takes it out of your dreams and makes it a reality…a very small reality, but a reality nonetheless. Once your idea is written down, it is much easier to elaborate on it as well as judge it from a more logical standpoint. When ideas simply fester in our heads, we think of them emotionally more often than rationally.
Where you write the idea down is critical. You should post the idea in the most public place possible. While you may initially fear judgement and feedback from others, there is no better way to commit yourself to an idea. By putting it out there, you’ve now made a commitment that is much harder to back away from.
Where should you start sharing ideas?
In the next couple of months we’ll be launching an Innovation Platform where you can share ideas. There will be the ability for others to vote up great ideas as well as offer suggestions for improving or expanding on ideas. We feel like this collaborative community will be the best place to share your ideas and receive honest, and helpful feedback. In addition, you’ll have the ability to win cash and prizes for great ideas.
To stay up to date on the latest, visit www.thunkmob.com and signup now!
Lazy Sunday - 3 Sources of Inspiration
We all have days when we wake up and just don’t feel it. Maybe it’s raining out, maybe we had a long night, maybe we have a rough day ahead of us, maybe we just don’t feel inspired. Whatever the reason, we all need some help kicking it into gear from time to time.
The next time you need a shot of inspiration to keep things moving forward, try one of these 5 sources that always work for us. We’d also love to hear what your biggest sources of inspiration are in the Comments:
1. Sports: Sports are the quintessential place where on any given day, anyone can beat anyone else. There are a virtually unlimited string of underdog stories that can both pull your heartstrings and pull you out of any funk you may be in. Two great places to start - inspirational sports movies and inspiration sports quotes. Here is one of my favorite sports motivation videos:
2. Music: Whether your flavor of choice is hip hop, pop, rock, or classical, music has inspired generations of overachievers. Music is largely personal so it’s near impossible to find a general list of the most inspiring music, but here’s a list of inspirational songs that spans genres and here is a list of newer inspirational songs (I apologize in advance - this list includes Limp Bizkit). There are also thousands of stories of musicians beating the odds to make it.
3. Entrepreneurs: Chris Dixon recently wrote about the myth of the overnight success. There are no shortage of inspirational business stories out there about people making things happen when their backs were against the wall. Here is one eclectic list of some lesser known stories from Inc.
What drives you? Let us know if the comments. It doesn’t matter what it is, but don’t let excuses get in your way. Get out there and follow through on your ideas and make them happen. You can get started by sharing your ideas at www.thunkmob.com and leveraging the power of our community to help you turn your ideas into reality.
You have to put in many, many, many tiny efforts that nobody sees or appreciates before you achieve anything worthwhile.
The Myth of the Perfect Idea
Over the years I’ve noticed that I have an inherent hesitance to following through on ideas due to an almost subconscious fear of the opportunity cost of not following through on other ideas. By going all in on one idea, I would be giving up on all of the other ideas I come up with.
In hindsight, I wonder how many great ideas I have passed up due to this fear.
This fear seems to be a very natural human trait that can lead to ultimately doing absolutely nothing. As a result, I recently decided that I would put my foot down and follow-through on my next idea. It isn’t a perfect idea, because perfect ideas don’t exist. Ideas are only perfect in hindsight. Ideas are only perfect after an individual has acted on that idea and the general population has determined that an idea makes a lot of sense and provides a lot of value.
As a result, no idea is perfect if it never sees the light of day.
So from all of us here at www.thunkmob.com, we encourage you to share your ideas and put them into action. Stop waiting for the perfect idea to come along and make a promise to yourself that you will take steps to turn your next idea into reality — before you can talk yourself out of it because you thought of something new and better.
What Will You Create this Weekend?
As we head into the weekend, I was struck by the thought, what am I going to accomplish this weekend? What am I going to create?
For many people with busy schedules, the weekend is the only part of the week where they may find enough free time to work on a project they have dreamed up. With work, school, social engagements, and (unfortunately) sleep, weekdays generally offer very little time to work on projects of personal interest.
As such, it doesn’t hurt to have a loose goal as you head into the weekend. So with that, we ask:
What will you create this weekend?
We’re all familiar with 3D-printing outfits Shapeways and Makerbot — imagine it blown up big enough to construct an entire house.
The future of our lives is customizable and instant. Through 3D printing we can optimize our every day lives by iterating our every day big objects. Iterating on your house, garage, coffee table, kitchen, and anything else.
Great is the human who has not lost his childlike heart.
Innovation = Idea + Action
There are thousands of articles and posts on any business site talking about what innovation is, what it is not and why it’s dead. While innovation can mean many different things to different people, at it’s core it boils down to 2 key components: an idea and action to make that idea a reality.
You’ll notice that I didn’t use a term like good, great, grand or wonderful to describe the idea. This is because ideas can only be designated as great in hindsight. All ideas are created in the dark recesses of someone’s mind and many seem brilliant at first and then fade while others seem dull or ordinary at first and blow up into mind blowing successes. Zuckerberg didn’t know he had the foundation for a $100+ Billion idea when he created a website for his dorm.
Similarly, ideas are not unique. I hate to bear this news, but we just aren’t that special. Given the size of the human population, I would guess that every possible iteration to modern technology and improvement on the current state of the world has been consciously thought of by at least one person.
Action is what separates the day dreams from the innovations.
An innovation isn’t an idea. An innovation is a tangible result which can only occur when someone creates something based on an idea. More importantly, the action side of this equation dramatically outweighs the idea side. The flawlessly executed, mediocre idea will trump the brilliant idea with no action behind day in and day out.
Oftentimes the hardest part is picking an idea and getting started. So just screw it, pick one, maybe even pick the next idea you have while you’re in the shower or on your way to work, and actually do something about it. Just make a pact to tell 10 people that you are going to work on that idea (You can post your ideas about What is Innovation to www.thunkmob.com) — this will give you the motivation to at least start working on it.
Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.