We’ve spent the last few weeks talking about my four-word rules for business success. My goal remains simple: I want to give you easy to implement tools, tactics, and techniques to make your business better.
Each rule is only four words long because often that’s all it takes to make a huge difference when you build your brand and your business.
I have a few friends who are comedians. One of the problems they deal with is that people constantly expect them to be funny.
It’s a problem I understand.
One of the problems with being known as “creative” is that people always expect me to be a constant source of new ideas.
At the same time, people who do not see themselves as “creative” somehow feel the need to explain that to me — “I don’t have a creative bone in my body,” they’ll tell me. “I can’t even draw a straight line.”
Of course there’s nothing inherently creative about drawing a straight line — all you need is a ruler and a pen and a bit of coordination and you’ve got as straight a line as you can imagine.
But if you spend time looking at great creative concepts you’ll find that most of them are not the big, new, never-before-heard-of idea you might think they are. Instead, many creative breakthroughs are really just interesting new combinations of old things or even revolutionary combinations of new and old things.
EBay? Despite its incredible success, EBay is simply a combination of old and new (auctions and bazaars + the Internet).
Facebook? If you went to high school in the seventies or eighties, you’ll realize that Facebook is also a simple combination of old and new (slambooks + the Internet).
Besides maybe reducing some of the intimidation that creating new ideas might cause, understanding this redefinition can also show you real opportunities for your entrepreneurial self. After all, if you looked at creativity like this, maybe you would have come up with EBay, Facebook, or Twitter (the notes we used to pass in elementary school + the Internet) yourself.
All you need to do is look at new and emerging technologies and figure out ways to incorporate them into old proven situations. Seen this way, confusing new concepts such as BitCoin, consumer genetic testing, Bluetooth, et al can now be seen as the next opportunity just waiting to be discovered.
For example, take a look at a traditional industry such as commercial real estate. You already know that lots of the requirements of the trade include studying and examining buildings to confirm things like zoning compliance, accuracy of measurements, leak testing, checking for structural integrity, etc. As you might imagine, doing these things requires lots of people on lots of ladders — especially as buildings get even bigger and even taller. Needless to say, these activities can be both expensive and dangerous (which can make them even more expensive).
But what if you used my theory and combined something old with something new? Looking at it that way might make you realize that the commercial real estate industry could be well-served with drones. We hear about drones being used for military applications, sporting events, crop dusting, and recreation. But what if you equipped them with cameras, thermometers, density meters, and other sensors and sent them up to gather the information people used to climb ladders to find? Bam!! Creativity at work and a damn good opportunity to boot.
By the way, the idea of employing drones in the commercial real estate industry has already been put to impressively good use. Take a moment and check out Volaero Drones (www.volaerodrones.com) if you want to see how Volaero did it. And talk about monetizing — the people at Volaero are so confident about their new combination that not only does their home page present information and ways to hire them, it even includes a link to invest in the company!
This way of monetizing new technology and creating opportunities is why my four-word rule for business success #7 is Old Things. New Combinations. All you need to do to take advantage of this is to look at all the exciting new whiz-bang technologies and figure out ways they can fix old problems.