Although the concept of entropy is almost nonexistent in the daily use, it is widely present in how the society works. The basic message of entropy is that:
Things have a natural way of getting disorganized.
Almost everything people do is related to the fight against the growing entropy. People try to constantly organize their thoughts, work to organize small parts to create bigger entities, find structure in their environment etc.
People have a desire to affect the entropy.
Games are usually constructed so that they get people involved. I will argue that the most addictive games are the ones that target the this natural need to organize things to a higher level of entropy. And not only games but products and services that help people to stay organized.
If you have an idea of something new…
Every imaginable business idea has a relation to the level of entropy in the society. The big question is under which circumstances would that idea help in decreasing the level of entropy instead of increasing it.
The most successful ideas are adopted because they keep the society organized. That is, they help people.
People’s minds are cluttered with marketing information. Where ever you go, you are pushed to think, want, buy now, act now and whatever the marketer has decided you should do.
This makes people wary.
But there are delighting examples of people who can detect sincerity in what companies do. With FinderBase our service offering sounds so amazing that people stop to think about our business model. It is unheard of that a company could be doing something useful for others without trying to benefit.
The basic message is the key.
Reflecting our ideas today, we got quite a valuable piece of advice which applies quite well to almost anything:
Forget the bells and whistles and tell the people the message that they can understand.
If your business idea is new and revolutionary don’t market it as such. Tell the story so that they can relate to.
If you’re the first person to develop an automobile, don’t sell it as a horseless carriage. Sell it as a carriage where the horses are optional. It’s not like people would get rid of their horses overnight, is it?
A business idea is like a baby. It is at its most vulnerable right after it is born. Then it slowly starts to develop and learn from others. An idea cherished by loving parents is likely to grow strong and prosper.
Don’t expose your baby to the horrors of the world from the start.
For the first time during our project, our business idea was thoroughly studied this week by a new member in our team. He was able to point out that almost an exact copy of our idea had been tried out multiple times in several different countries. Without any remarkable success.
If you have a newborn business idea in your hands, such news can be fatal. You’ll easily end up seeing just the negative side of things. Even worse, if you continue, you could end up copying the points that have made others to fail. It’s difficult to say if I had acted differently if I had stumbled upon these ideas on the early stage of my project.
Raise your baby to success, don’t just teach it lessons.
The situation is completely different when your idea is already raised to be strong. With a dedicated team of people, you can put things in right perspective. It is important that several individuals have contributed to the idea to make it stronger and more versatile.
So teach your idea a lesson when it’s ready to take it. Before that it might be beneficial just to stay ignorant.
During Easter I stumbled upon a classified ad on the largest Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. The ad promotes a website:
www.ideatykki.fi (roughly translates to http://www.ideacannon.com)
Their business idea is to sell “business ideas”. This basically means founding a company and selling it to a new owner who avoids the “paperwork”. Filling in the paperwork yourself costs 350 € for a limited company in Finland. These guys should obviously add their margin and especially if they are not only selling the paperwork but a “business idea”.
And they do!
Their ideas cost between 7.500 € and 50.000 € and this price includes the newly established company and a few Internet domain names. What is even more interesting is that they don’t even have a single actual business idea, all they have is a set of B-grade names with a price tag.
Selling a real business idea is quite difficult since an idea is not worth anything before it has been turned into business. The cutting edge name that the guys at Ideatykki are selling for 50.000 € is NaturPower Finland that could be doing “applications with renewable energy sources”.
Here’s a better suggestion for the first taker
If you want to start a business in renewable energy, how about ViherPower Finland Oy (roughly translates to GreenPower)? With this name you could even get both the dot-com and dot-fi domain names unlike just the dot-fi for NaturPower.
All you need to do now is to think of what you really want to do. Without any searching of potential competitors, here’s a bunch of ideas you could do with that name (even with rather limited previous knowledge in the area):
- Import and retail of solar cell powered battery chargers
- Import and retail of bicycle powered battery chargers
- Consulting on small-scale solar cell power system choices
- Website for comparing renewable energy power system alternatives
- Website for comparing and rating subcontractors that install renewable energy power systems
- Website that makes it easier for people to show their friends how they have saved energy
If someone finds the name ViherPower or any of these ideas a least bit interesting, I’m happy to help you in founding the company completely free of charge.
Let me start giving you a quote presented by Mårten Mickos on his Twitter account.
In business, too much naiveté makes you fail – but complete lack of it prevents you from winning big.
Now, think of the biggest possible goals and place them on the naivety axis. Here are some examples:
- World peace
- Racial equality
- Ecological awareness.
The really big thoughts have undeniable advantages for the whole humanity. The only obstacle in reaching these goals is the humanity itself.
Setting aside the fact that any big idea needs to be naive enough to become popular, I’ve collected here some vague themes that we will be addressing with our project:
- Our idea will be an ethical way to helping the fellow-man
- Our idea will be an ecological choice against the consumer society
- Our idea will be a game that everyone is already playing but just not counting their score in it
- Our idea will motivate people to exercise more
- Our idea will offer people the chance to make some extra money completely legally and without any obligations.
Our idea is still pretty far from the top of the naivety axis. Still, even touching a single one of these goals could change the world for the better.
There just isn’t an idea that would be good from the start
Almost all people come up with ideas with some business potential sometime in their life. Most never do anything about it.
I’m sure even a bad idea can be turned into a brilliant one if enough people are thinking it through. Thinking and discussing an idea is the development that any idea needs to become any good in the first place.
You mean, I should share my idea with as many people as possible?
Actually I think sharing an idea is the only way to develop it further but I still wouldn’t recommend sharing your good ideas with everybody. However, most people overestimate the power of their idea and are scared that someone might steal it, so they don’t share it with anyone. Start by sharing your idea with a few friends and see where it gets from there. But don’t give up on it on the first negative feedback you get.
What about your ideas and their development?
I’m looking for one to three people to join me and submit a business plan to VentureCup. If you’re a business planning guru, that’s great. It you’re a great presenter, even better but you don’t need to be either. If you think you can positively affect the success of our team in the competition, you’re probably the person we’re looking for!
The deadline for the submission is March 10, 2010 12 noon. So you should have some free time in your hands until the deadline to participate.
What’s in it for me?
That’s up to you. The first prize in the contest is 25,000 € and if we win you can be sure to get at least your fair share. If we don’t win anything then you’ve only lost a bit of your time but might have a whole new future ahead of you.
People asked me how I plan to do what I’m doing. I don’t have an answer ready but I’m not going to sit back and think about it for too long. Realizing a plan calls for action and I’m ready to do what it takes.
Do you have a business idea ready to make the million?
I don’t think any business idea can ever be ready and no idea is worth anything without the people determined to pull it through. Ideas I have plenty of and the more I talk about this project with people the more ideas keep popping up. I’m planning to present one of these ideas at the Aalto Entrepreneurship Society pitch evening on February 17th.
But you do have to have a lot of money and a really good idea to succeed
I’ll argue that a successful business is about:
- 10 % about the idea
- 20 % about the resources
- and 70 % about the team
So you’ll just found a company and try to get it sold for a million by your birthday
Well yes, this goal requires founding one or more companies but I don’t intend to sell my share in them just to cash in. Instead I’m most willing to help entrepreneurial spirits find their own companies to pursue their dreams. I want people to stop dreaming and start acting. I only want be a part of a company where the whole is more than people doing it alone and where I’m worth more to the others than the cost of having me aboard.
What is this blog for?
It is primarily for all my friends as a source of inspiration on how to affect their lives. But it’s also for anyone interested in keeping up with current events and the status in this kind of project. Finally, it is an important tool for myself to keep me on the right track with the goal clear in mind. This being said, I’m planning to send an update daily and try to do something, however small, in my life every day to improve myself in terms of pursuing the goal. That will amount to a staggering number of things throughout the project.
Where can we follow the status of the project.
I’ll send an update every time something happens on that field. At this point I’m still firmly standing on the zero marker.