Home » Archive » I hate this = $$$

, written by Jeremy. Read the commentary.

When I was in graduate school I read an article describing the innovation methods of a successful entrepreneur. He keeps a hate list. It’s a list of everything he and his friends hate with all the violence of a bang-your-knuckles-when-your-wrench-slips cursing spree.

Every Saturday he sits down and solves at least one of the problems. His entire fortune is built on Saturday solutions.

I was reminded of this today when I had lunch with the CEO of one of Canada’s most successful biotechnology companies. We talked innovation and I asked how he got the ideas for his research projects.

Leaning back in his chair, arms casually placed behind his head, he says, “I start by asking people their problems. Then I follow up with something that solves the problem.” Irish accent trawling, “Then I give it to the guy with the problem.” Big grin, leans forward, eyes on me. “That’s working right nice for us.”

He goes on to tell me that his competitors use the “find it, find a market” model.

Most biotech companies do mass genetic research, struggle to find potentially useful genes, then spin the research into ventures that struggle.

There’s a ready market for things we hate (or at least problems we vigourously dislike) So there’s a giant difference in the marketability of solutions and things we’d like to have. That’s an important difference for entrepreneurs and for me.

The sift experiment is often an answer in search of a problem. And worse, its often an answer in search of a question. That’s just not sustainable.

I’ll keep doing it anyway because it’s nearly costless and its good fun. But I’ve begun leveraging this work to answer problems instead of desribing them.

Todays conversation nailed home the conviction that it’s time to get moving.

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