June 7, 2012
How Creative Do You Have to Be?
To follow up on last week’s post about the two types of entrepreneurs, I hear from people all the time that they can’t be an entrepreneur because they’re not creative. I used to say that myself, but Mariquita reminds me periodically that that’s nonsense…and as a case in point, I didn’t have the original idea that gave birth to Return Path James Marciano did. And I didn’t have the original idea to create a deliverability business, George Bilbrey did. Or an inbox organizer consumer application, Josh Baer did.
But I still consider myself an entrepreneur as the founder and leader of the company, as it takes a lot of creativity and business building acumen to get from an idea to a business, or from a small business to a big business.
Sure, you can invent something from scratch. Someone created the first car. The first computer. The first telephone. Harnessed the power of electricity for home/commercial use. The first deliverability service or inbox organizer. George and others will say you can create a process for this…but I think it’s a bit like lightening striking.
But sometimes the best ideas are ones that are borrowed from others or combined from other sets of existing things. There’s nothing wrong with that! And you can do this without stealing intellectual property. For example, I took a ton of business trips my first few years out of college with a heavy duffel bag that caused a pinched nerve in my shoulder. Then someone decided to put wheels, a relatively old and stable technology, on suitcases about 15 years ago. Hallelujah.
Regardless of what type of entrepreneur you are, you can exercise business creativity in lots of different ways, not just by inventing a new product.
UPDATE: This week’s Economist has an interesting article that fits right into this discussion. It’s called In Praise of Misfits, and its telling subtitle is something like “Why business needs people with dyslexia, ADD, and Asperger’s.” A great read on this theme.