A few weeks ago I was golfing with a few buddies.
We were driving the cart from the green to the next tee and my buddy said:
There are some nice houses on this course.
Yes. There’s a lot of money in the world.
Since then I’ve been thinking about that little quick conversation. It’s not that we were impressed with the houses. There were some we liked. A few we admired, but nothing earth shattering or anything like that.
But it got me thinking a little about business and the opportunity that exists in the world if we look hard enough.
Opportunity Is Where You Find It
I read the biography of David Geffen. Lots of great lessons in that book and in his life story.
One of his mentors in the music business was Ahmet Ertegun. One thing that Ahmet told David and that I’m sure he told others was that a key to success was to walk down the street often. And if you’re lucky you’ll run into some talented people.
The lesson there is that you have to be open to opportunity. Walking down the street could be literal, but it really means being open in many ways to opportunity.
Meeting new people.
Trying new things.
Looking at the world different.
Experiencing new and different things.
All kinds of things that get you open to opportunity.
As I looked at those houses it dawned on me that the world will change. How I’m making money today may be around for awhile, but it might not be. That will hurt, but it doesn’t mean that all opportunity ceases to exist.
In fact, there are often new opportunities when something bad happens like a financial depression or shock.
I think it’s easy to get shocked and knocked off balance, though when something bad happens and we shut out the world. We stop taking walks down the sidewalk.
Ideating vs. Observing
This gets me thinking about Ghost Blog Writers too a little bit.
When I was in college I had a business class and we had a summer assignment. Write down at least one business everyday for the entire summer.
Most of us had a notepad full of ideas. Multiple ideas per day. We had like 90 or 100 days and we each had a couple hundred of ideas.
All bad ideas.
That’s right. Of all those students I don’t think we had one good idea.
I’m definitely putting myself on that list. I thought I was coming up with good ideas, but it wasn’t until after that I realized that most of the ideas were really bad. They weren’t anything that anyone would want.
And that was a key.
Then after a couple years in the working world I started blogging. Everyday. Then someone asked me if I would write for their blog. That seemed fine. Then I saw on Twitter another person asking if someone would write for them. I dm’ed them and that one worked out.
Finally it hit me…this is how business ideas are born.
I wasn’t even really ready to observe what was happening. i was just acting on it.
And when I think about successful businesses so many are born out of happenstance like that. Or born of frustration.
It doesn’t start with, “This would be a good idea…”
It often comes from looking at what people are struggling with. Or what people don’t like doing themselves, but that they really need done.
It even makes me think of Red Ryder BB Guns. Daisy, the company that manufactures those toy guns, was a windmill manufacturer. They made the guns as a marketing effort.
But eventually they saw that the guns were selling really well. Someone was smart enough to eventually scrap the entire windmill effort and focus entirely on the toy market.
Not planned. Just observing opportunity.
There is a lot of money in the world. And because of that there is a lot of opportunity in the world. It seems the best way to find that opportunity is to be open to finding it. To not putting barriers on where that opportunity may come from in the future. Not thinking that you have the answer. Being open to working with others. Being open to making others successful.