Using The Click Moment to Build an Exciting New Business

by bsrubin on October 11, 2012

I met Frans Johansson during my time at Brown (he is a fellow alum).  At the time he had just released his excellent book The Medici Effect.  The key insight was that good ideas increasingly happen at ‘The Intersection’ of different fields/ways of thinking.  So mix up trash removal and bee-keeping, or Japanese cuisine and organic chemistry – and new ideas will flow.

Frans just released The Click Moment.  His thinking is transforming the way I think about creating new businesses.

Book Recap

  • Success is random, not planned.  He gives extremely convincing arguments from years of research to prove this point.  I’m pretty much with him.
  • In order to capitalize on this:
    • Bring your mind to ‘The Intersection’ and have a bunch of interesting ideas.
    • Place *many* small bets and carefully watch what takes off.
    • Double down when you have a win.

Read the book (and others like The Drunkard’s Walk or The Black Swan) to learn more – but for now let’s play with the implications on being an entrepreneur if the above is taken as given.

‘Click’ to Create a Company

I want to build a hugely valuable company in the broad space of ‘helping people become fucking awesome.’  Zeo and sleep certainly fits this mold.  Other areas of interest range from productivity to nutrition to education.  Using the above methodology I should:

  1. Seed my mind with tons of random interesting stuff.  Relevance is ‘anything that is interesting.’  Just sponge on books, movies, conferences, dinner conversations, etc.
  2. Collect spontaneous ideas as they occur, and deliberately brainstorm on a regular basis.  For a great treatise on this see a recent Altucher post.
  3. Create a filter.  What ideas am I PASSIONATE about?  If ideas aren’t extremely exciting on day one ditch them immediately.  Now write down the immediate next step on creating a business for each of those ideas.
    • example:  Business idea – create a Pomodoro app that links people together through a system of mutual accountability to get stuff done.  Immediate next step – call a friend and agree to try this via Skype for a half-day of work.
  4. Every week take three ‘first step’ actions for generated ideas.
  5. See what hits and exert more effort on those ideas.

This feels right.  I’ve been extremely prone to over-analyze ideas, discard ideas as impractical, and generally rationalize things as if I could predict the future.  I can’t.  You can’t.  Have interesting ideas.  Try shit.  Pickup on what works.  Will see what turns up in the next few weeks!

  • drhaswell

    Looking forward to seeing what ideas fall out of this proces… I found myself saying, “yep, yep, yep” to this post. The general flow of the idea process mimics the lean startup process for building a company once it’s underway – it’s all about running “modest experiments” that allow you to test your hypotheses.

    Biggest challenge I have found – by far – is focus. Even while retired, it’s tough for me to write down one idea every day (let alone 10 every day). Maybe I just need to work that muscle harder, but I have the creeping feeling that a book full of ideas (even with first step actions taken) isn’t getting me any closer to finding the things I want to pursue… Perhaps my lack of enthusiasm is a leading indicator that this path isn’t for me; or perhaps I need to be more diligent in making my brain sweat. TBD.

    There’s an alternative idea I’ve been batting around, however, and that is to pick a niche that I could get passionate about and dive in. Surround myself with other passionate people (preferably ones that have already spent some time there, and that can teach me a thing or two), and discover problems and clunky work-arounds. Build ideas from the problem up, instead of from my head out.

    Seems less efficient – in that I need to invest quite a bit of time/effort really getting to know the vertical – but, I suspect, it could also yield higher quality ideas.

    Any how, cool thoughts. Talk soon.

    PS ~ I love the idea of using Thiel’s “secrets” (from your previous post) as a filter for strong ideas.

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