Friday, April 13, 2007

Idea Crack

Ze Frank, has just recently finished making a video pod cast everyday for an entire year. That's a lot of videos.

One of my favourites was his response to someone asking if he was afraid of running out of ideas. He said, of course, but that is why as soon as he gets an idea he goes out and does it as quickly as possible.

It might not work the first time, the second time or even the third time, but even if you can't get it to work after three tries, you have three times as much experience doing it as someone who didn't try at all.

It is Ze's belief that people can get addicted to ideas. They are so afraid of failure that they become addicted to having the idea in their mind, that they plan to do someday, and someday never comes.

The more they think about their idea, the more perfect it needs to be carried out. Eventually the completing the idea becomes so unattainable that it can never be anything but an idea.

Ze calls it Brain Crack, but I think that a better name is idea crack, because it is the ideas that we become addicted to.

I guess the reason that this idea of Idea Crack is so interesting to me is that I am somewhat addicted to having ideas.

Several years ago, I saw some boy scouts selling cotton candy at the Medicine Hat parade. It was such a compelling thing to me, I really wanted to sell cotton candy. I thought about the idea for over a year. I looked up cotton candy machines on the internet trying to find out how or where to get one. I used formulas I learned in my managerial accounting class to make a excel spreadsheet to figure out the contribution margin of each unit of cotton candy so I would know how much I would have to sell to make buying a machine worth while as well as run through various scenarios detailing different levels of sales.

Then after almost a year and a half of thinking about it, I pitched the idea to the entrepreneur club at my faculty at the U of C. The girl I talked to thought it was a great idea. I could rent a machine and find some other people to work the booth while I was in class. etc. I can't remember for sure, but I think they were willing to float a loan, but the profits had to go to some charity.

Well, the cat was out of the bag by that point. I didn't need to buy a $1500 cotton candy machine. I could rent one from a party rental company. Screw experience, I was only in it for the money. The experience would be a nice afterthought.

The next Canada Day I sold well over $300 worth of cotton candy at the stampede parade in Raymond.

The next bit of idea crack stay in my head for a lot less time. The U of C Chinese club at the used to sell Texas doughnuts at a booth in the Student centre. It seemed like a great idea to me, but I didn't want to actually do it. Then the next year the Chinese Club quit selling them. I don't know if a key member graduated but anyway, my friend James Keller started selling them for his club.

He raved and rave about how easy it was and that they practically sold themselves. Well selling them sold itself to me. I asked him lots of questions about it and found out all I could. Still, it took me a year before I took the plunge for the first time. I was more successful selling the doughnuts that I had been selling the cotton candy. I went on to do the Texas doughnuts a bunch more times. The best thing about selling the doughnuts was that the bakery where I got them gave them to me on credit. They said to have a cheque ready for them the next day when they came to get their trays. I had all the money from the sales before I even paid for the doughnuts. It was great.

Since then the incubating time for my ideas has continued to drop significantly but it is still much longer than I would like it to be. It isn't anywhere near the speed of my sister who can come up with an idea and be working on it before you even have time to put on your shoes.

Anyway, I've been thinking of doing a basketball shot like this for about a month. That may or may not seem like much, but it is my hobby and there were no hurdles to overcome, other than going to a gymnasium.

This photo was one of the out takes, because you can see the Wilson / NCAA logos.

-Gary Milner

1 comment:

Jackie said...

You must have an amazing sister! Ha, I loved reading the entire blog today, and loved hearing how much you love your job.