Why didn’t I think of that?
Have you ever used a product or an app and thought to yourself, “Damn, why didn’t I think of that?! I mean the idea was so simple – it’s been sitting there in plain sight my whole life,” slaps forehead), “Why didn’t I just see it?”
You didn’t see it because you’re not trained to see it…
VC firms have what’s called Idea Flow. Masses of people line up & pitch a continuous flow of ideas & projects to the VC members. If they like the idea, these firms will invest millions of dollars in hopes of reaping multiple millions if not billions of dollars in the future. Fewer than 1% of these ideas make it through the next stage, but some go on to become Facebook, Airbnb, Uber, and Twitter (Waitr an online food/grocery delivery app based in my hometown named sold this past summer for $308 million.) (Slaps forehead again)
Now I know what you’re thinking, I don’t have millions to spend nor years to invest, but you & VC firms share one thing in common, you both have “idea flow.”
In the book Disrupt You!, Jay Samit challenges his students to write 3 things that you notice that could be improved every day. He says that at first it’ll be easy, but as the days roll on it’ll become more and more challenging, but if you discipline yourself to do this every day it’ll cause you to become more introspective and more observant to the world around you.
Anything… Everything is up for grabs… “How can this be improved?” Recently Tesla founder Elon Musk looked at the bottleneck of Los Angeles traffic & posed the idea of building an underground tunnel were people seamlessly commute in a capsule. Will it come to life? Who knows, but that’s one of hundreds of ideas that Musk spitballs and asks, “What if?” Instead of taking life at face value, why not generate your own idea flow? When you’re standing in line, ordering, shopping, or just taking a piss, ask yourself, “How can this be improved?”
Think about Poo-Pourri, a small bottle that you can drop into the toilet bowl after you take a crap at your friend’s house to hide the stank… “Why didn’t I think of that?” (Quickly slaps forehead.)
Even on your job…what’s the bottle-neck? What can be improved? How can this be disrupted? Frustrated? Good! The more frustrated the better, because frustrating times are prime opportunities for you to take notice and ask, “How can this be bettered?” See, while the rest of the world stands around pointing and bitching, you’re strategically thinking about capitalizing on disruption. Uber took the status quo taxi service and flipped it upside down. Airbnb, which started as an air mattress on the floor and breakfast in the morning, disrupted the entire hotel industry.
Not all of your ideas will come to life, but you need a continuous flow of them for the best ones to rise to the top. Three ideas per day, that’s 90/month-that’s 1000/year. Just imagine if 1% of those ideas disrupted your life for the better? Change starts with an idea.
Try it this week and let me know how it goes.