Have you ever had an idea so “crazy” that all your friends immediately discouraged you from pursuing the thought? I do not mean having that 11th shot of tequila, I mean an idea for a business that most of your peers simply laughed off. I have and I am willing to bet a lot of you have too! So, I want to play a little game. I am going to show you a brief description, and I want you to identify the company that is being described. Let’s start with a few easy ones.
1. It is like email, SMS, or RSS. Except it only has 140 characters, doesn't support images, can't be made private, and will be used mostly by geeks at first, followed by Britney Spears and Charlie Sheen.
2. We are building the world's 20th search engine at a time when most of the others have been abandoned as being commoditized money losers. We'll strip out all of the ad-supported news and portal features so you won't be distracted from using the free search stuff.
3. We are going to build a better web browser, even though 90 percent of the world's computers already have a free one built in. It's based on a product that a single college student built.
4. Instead of just building batteries and selling them to Detroit, we are going to build our own cars from scratch plus own the distribution network. We'll start the company during a recession and the crashing of the clean tech industry.
5. It will be ugly. It will be free. Except for the scammers and hookers.
6. We built a file sharing and syncing solution in a market has a dozen of them built by big companies like Microsoft. It only has one feature, and you have to move all of your content to use it.
7. People will use their insecure AOL and Yahoo email addresses to pay each other real money, backed by a non-bank with a cute name run by 20-somethings.
8. Airlines are fun, so we are starting one. How hard could it be? We'll differentiate with a funny safety video and by not being a**holes.
9. The world needs yet another social network a la Myspace or Friendster except several years late. We'll only open it up to a few thousand overworked, anti-social Ivy Leaguers. Everyone else will then follow since Harvard students are so cool.
By this time, I think you are getting the point. Even crazy ideas can succeed. Catching that lightning in the bottle is often a crap shoot, but there is a time and place for almost any idea or product. For example, a friend of mine started a company that ships crap (literally poop, feces, manure whatever you want to call it) in a little box to whoever you want to send it to. Sales have surpassed 10 million dollars! I still think this is a really strange idea, but you have to respect that kind of bottom line!