Be An Otter
Great quote from a conversation between two of my favorite writers, Joss Whedon and Neil Gaiman --
"I saw a lovely analogy recently. Somebody said that writers are like otters. And otters are really hard to train. Dolphins are easy to train. They do a trick, you give them a fish, they do the trick again, you give them a fish. They will keep doing that trick until the end of time.
Otters, if they do a trick and you give them a fish, the next time they'll do a better trick or a different trick because they'd already done that one. And writers tend to be otters. Most of us get pretty bored doing the same trick. We've done it, so let's do something different."
~ Neil Gaiman to Joss Whedon, on why they both ended their franchises while Sandman and Buffy were still popular.
My Personal Brilliance... And Yours.
Anyone who missed the Fast Company Magazine BlogJam a few weeks ago missed out on what I think is basically THE big concept of the year -- "Personal Brilliance."
Author Jim Canterucci was invited to participate in the BlogJam and share his vision of the personal innovation process. Canterucci describes Personal Brilliance as "the sum of what you’ve learned, experienced, and practiced." Excellent!
Jim has mapped the habits we need to develop in order to enhance our own Personal Brilliance: Awareness, Curiosity, Focus, and Initiative. You can read the article that originally hooked me on Jim's website, MyPersonalBrilliance.com.
I think this is going to be a really important book for all the Idea Guys and Gals out there -- be sure to read the linked article introducing the four principles of Personal Brilliance. It's going to be information vital to an upcoming change on my own website and services. READ IT. There will be test...
Okay, not REALLY a test -- but there IS a Personal Brilliance Quotient you can take to see how you score in each of the areas of Awareness, Curiosity, Focus, and Initiative. Check it out by clicking this link. And buy a book while you're at it. Show some initiative. ;)
Made in the USA
Anyone else watching this show?
I was kinda surprised the Instant Waterfall couple lasted as long as they did. Seemed like they just wouldn't allow themselves to be helped by any of the feedback they were receiving. Theirs is an interesting product, and I wish them luck. My advice would be to open themselves up to the expanded possibilities of their product. They were a little too in love with the waterfall to step back and really hear what others were telling them about their invention.
One of my favorites is the interchangeable shoe. It's fun, creative, and seems to have a waiting base of consumers. But... after reviewing the website's book of inventions, I was amazed at the number of similar inventions trying out for the show. At least three others presented similar ideas. Should Quintanna and Jessica win the competition, they'll have at least three others flooding the market with similar products.
I also really like The Dirtworker. The inventors seem like nice guys -- however -- they seem to be in the same love affair with their invention as the waterfall couple. At least the Jersey Boys started to embrace the idea of adding a bit of portability to their product, but only halfheartedly. Again, they are ignoring valuable feedback about the expandability in the benefits of owning their product. It's NOT just limited to cleaning dirty items you want to store in your car. It IS a mini powerwasher that could be used to clean other items -- if it was a litle easier to tote around. My prediction is these guys are the next to go.
What can I say about the Gorilla Gripper? Not sure why this product is on the show. It's already a winner. And it's SO close to 'finished' that I'm amazed Sears hasn't already called them (and Bob Villa) to begin filming their 60-second commercial pitching the product on tv. It's a product with a very specific audience, so I wonder if it has the appeal to be fully successful on HSN -- but that could be its strength as well. Very focused and a waiting market.
The products I think stand the best chance of winning? The Quad Zipper and the Hydromax System. Between the two, I lean toward the Hydromax. It's a complete product with a specific market. Mom's will want them for their football playing offspring, schools will want them to show their concern for the safety of their students, and I'm certain they'd look really good with a Nike logo on them.
The Quad Zipper is a huuuge idea with tons of potential, but I think they'd do better with winning a booth at every fashion industry tradeshow than spots on HSN. I think their product is better suited to the garment industry than tv infomercials - unless they are selling the apparel designed to showcase their invention, rather than the invention of the Quad Zipper itself. There is a bit of a disconnect in which item is actually in the competition. Is it the 'universal shirt/vest', or is it the zipper itself? The answer to that question could determine who wins the final competition.
Not So Sweet
I think I understand what they're doing...
I'm just not convinced they're doing it WELL.
Comic Strip Gives Idea Guy Some Competition
Jason Kotecki's comic strip, "Kim & Jason" is giving me a little competition, as one of the title characters has decided to go into the idea-selling business.
In this week-long series of strips, little Jason has setup a lemonade-type stand (a la Lucy van Pelt's psychiatric advice) sporting a sign that reads "Good Ideas $1." A special feature of Mr. Kotecki's online strip is something he calls Indigo.
Indigo is bonus material accessed by clicking the comic strip graphic. Since the "Jason The Idea Kid" is selling ideas in the strip, Jason (the artist, not the comic character) thought it might be fun to feature Don The Idea Guy's material as Indigo content for the week.
Jason has broken one of my most popular creativity articles (Becoming an Idea Barista) into a serialized version to complement the sequence of comic strips. It was a lot of fun to be part of Kim & Jason for the week, and I appreciated being included. Thanks, Jason!
Jason Kotecki is author of "Escape Adulthood: 8 Secrets from Childhood for the Stressed-Out Grown-Up." Jason also has a free manifesto available for download on the ChangeThis website.
View the series of Idea Guy strips by clicking this link. Remember, you can access the Indigo bonus material by clicking on the comics!
Ideas from Trends
& Statistics Part 2
I posted in May about how you might build bright ideas from trends and statistics found in the news.
In this week's Marketing Profs' newsletter, there is a great article on reaching out to pet owners. The article is filled with statistics and examples of how our nation's obesession with our furry family members can lead to profitable promotional and product ideas.
A worthy read and great reminder about using stats and trends to create new ideas!
A New Center
Wanted to link to this article regarding Stern's switch to Satellite Radio quite awhile ago, but never got around to it. Lately I've been thinking a lot about ideas and what sparks innovation, and I remembered thinking the last paragraph or two on the first page of this article made some great points.
Author Ana Marie Cox (The Wonkette!) squarely hits on the development of a "new center" in the media world, which could easily be described in creating a "New Center" of ANYTHING.
Excerpts from the article...
"Stern's move heralds the future of radio, and maybe of media in general. He has made it possible to look at the chaos of individually produced enterprises (podcasters and print-on-demand publishers and bloggers ... on the fringe of the media world and suddenly see a new center.
... After all, almost every amateur media venture - at least the ones worth paying attention to - starts out of spite. You are unsatisfied with something. You feel like something is being ignored. You are offended. You make a movie on your laptop because you hate Michael Moore; you start doing an Internet broadcast because your local radio station isn't playing enough Tuvan throat-singers. You start a blog because magazine editors won't let you write about indelicate sex acts and privatizing Social Security in the same screed.
The future that Stern is defining actually isn't about speech. It's about a less legalistic, more human freedom: expression. The best revolutions, like the best comedy, come from rage - tricksters who nudge and needle the establishment until it can't help but change. ...it's possible to create and consume individualized, personalized media that lives up to a community standard of you.
In the country of the blog, the one-man show is king of all media."
She gives me chills I tell you -- CHILLS!
The Reasons Y
I really enjoyed this article from Poynter.org on the personality traits of Gen-Y workers.
My younger brother, Joe, could be the poster child for Gen-Y. I think those are the qualities I most admire in the guy. Fortunately, I've had the benefit of Joe as a role model (I call it getting in touch with my "Inner-Joe", or increasing my "Joe-ness") and I think I've managed to adopt a few of my most personally coveted traits in the article:
They are accustomed to quality as consumers.
Those two-career families had disposable income, and the kids became discerning customers, brand- and quality-conscious.
They are tech-savvy.
Technology has always been a part of their lives. They are far better at using it than most of their bosses, and do so without fear.
They are accustomed to immediacy.
Cell phones, e-mail, instant messaging, faxes, overnight mail, digital cameras and microwave ovens have all reduced the waiting time in their lives.
They are tolerant of differences.
They grew up in schools that mainstreamed students with disabilities, strove for racial and ethnic diversity, had Gay-Straight Alliance clubs and women in leadership roles.
They work around, not against, authority.
Unlike the young people of the '60s who rebelled against authority, the Gen-Y approach when opposing authority is more passive than aggressive.
Read the entire article HERE.