Draw two circles side by side that overlap just a bit (a Venn diagram). The circle on the left is “things that sound like bad ideas.” The circle on the right is “things that are actually good ideas.” The overlapping segment of “things that sound like bad ideas but are actually good ideas” are where Alex Mittal’s Venture Capital firm, Funder’s Club, tries to invest.*
For those of us in the non-VC world, where we are more likely to invest our time or effort than big money into a high concept, we can still consider “things that sound crazy” and “things that actually work.” Special moments aren’t made of normalcy, just like special ideas don’t solve a problem the exact same way as someone else already solves it. There’s got to be a special twist. We want to do “crazy – good” things.
“Crazy” doesn’t have to mean outside of our comfort zone either. Crazy in this case refers to anything others wouldn’t think to try or even know existed. Mittal’s group depends on a network of smart people vetting ideas collectively to see who has an expert’s edge. Personally, someone could tell me things about golf that I had no idea about, while I could tell them that Steven Pressfield based The Legend of Bagger Vance on The Bhagavad-Gita. One person’s useless knowledge can be another person’s insight, or even better – it can be the cornerstone that holds a relationship together (“we both love to golf?!” or “we both read Pressfield?!”).
Howard Lindzon said, “niche, niche, niche is the new location, location, location.” Our own interests from inside of our own comfort zones can be the source of our “things that sound crazy.” It’s ok to be (a little) weird. Think focused, think personal, think narrow, think deep, think impactful, and most importantly – think about how to put it out there in a way that expands the business.
If it sounds crazy and we think we can make it work – we should get after it. Here’s to crazy-good ideas.
*Hear Alex on the “Invest Like the Best” podcast with Patrick O’Shaughnessy here, or check out Funder’s Club here.