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The riskiest thing you can do is be safe

Stop being mediocre and wonderful ideas are born

by Lorena  |  3124 views  |  7 comments  |        Rate this now! 

Why the riskiest thing you can do is be safe and not audacious? Because going for "safe" in marketing (as well as in life) means really setting you up for mediocrity (does "mediocrity" sound better than "Loser"?). Anyhow, nobody likes to be called that. Well, then don't do it! Think harder, listen harder and take all that and put it into a new idea. No, not a new wonderful creamy soap ... we have enough of those. Dare to do something which was never done before.

In case you are wondering where to start looking for such brave ideas, well, start by looking for trouble -- better said: look for problems. Yes, try to identify problems. If you cannot find the solution to these problems (you must see some, unless you are perfectly blind), then here is your opportunity!

Let me give you an example: I lost track of how many times I came home from a business trip, totally enraged. Why? Because most of these commercial airline companies (or should I call them C-class airlines?) are one big, delayed, ugly and sad story! As you can imagine, I do fly commercial airlines, not private jets. So, what usually happens when I return from one of these wingless flights? I scream and kick and share my happiness with my family and friends. Until one day I read one of Seth Godin's books and I discovered

I'm happy now: I found a place where I can scream and kick (a.k.a. write and distribute), be heard by lots of people (many of who have been through the same delights as me) and possibly disturb some of these fat and consumer-ignoring companies and make them listen to what their consumers have to say. If I'm lucky enough, I might live to see the day when I get into an airplane and, instead of getting all kind of retarded answers from (not-even-smiling) flight attendants, they will set themselves on fire for offering masochistic anti-customer service to their customers.

Anyway, you get the picture. What did was to come up with a solution to a widely spread problem: people like me who did not know which jar to pick first to scream in it and then run with it to the top of the hill to release the rage (remember Droopy?).

Start watching Droopy cartoons, also keep your eyes wide closed and listen well, then come up with a solution that will help you achieve greatness.

About the Author

Lorena is a VP Director of Marketing who calls herself a marketing communications addict with an entrepreneurial mindset and a desire to relentlessly learn and do great things.

Read more by Lorena

7 comments so far...

  • Dear all,
    Take a minute to leave a comment (provide feedback) after you read my article. This way, I can learn about what you liked about it and what you didn't, as well as what are the things you'd like me to talk about in my next articles (related to marketing, sales & networking).

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Lorena on 27th July 2008

  • Good thoughts; finding a problem and solving it is a great way to apply creativity. However, using the term "completely blind" as a synonym for clueless is offensive. My son is blind, but he's very observant. He pays attention and has an excellent memory. If you were playing Trivial Pursuit or working on a project, you'd want him on your team - vision or none.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Daisy on 24th July 2008

  • I still don't follow how this relates to the original subject, and I disagree that different ideas are necessary to success or that boldness makes something inherently better. I disagree that the idea of having one single website to voice your complaints is even an issue that needed addressing in the first place.

    However, I understand that we do not have to agree. I was simply pointing out what appears to this reader to be a disjointed article not clearly expressing how we get from your title to the feeling after reading. I also disagree that being safe is equivalent to being either mediocre or a "loser."

    I would argue that in the spirit of supporting one another, we refrain from insinuating that because the choices I would make are not the choices you would make, that either of us is a "loser" in any sense of the word. That's my opinion and I don't think you have to share it, I just believe it's a more positive outlook.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Kelly O on 23rd July 2008

  • Having a Different idea became a minimum condition to succeed. Having a Bold idea is an additional reason to succeed.
    Good luck to you all,

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Lorena on 21st July 2008

  • Thanks for the reminder. If we want something better, we ned to do something bold and something different.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Francesca on 16th July 2008

  • Hi Kelly,
    Thanks for replying to my article. The point of this story is that somebody saw an opportunity in a ... problem. And that person came up not with another mediocre solution, but a new, ground breaking one.
    But to see an opportunity in a problem (defined in this particular example as “no one single website where you can express your opinion – positive or negative - and be taken seriously by the corporate players, while providing reference to other customers”) you need to look for a miss, a gap, a void space which needs to be filled with something meaningful, which adds value and meets a demand.
    Just FYI: the companies mentioned on Planetfeedback strive now to respond to the complaints posted there by consumers like you and I and sometimes even solve these problems. Not bad, I’d dare to say. Maybe in the future we will have better services. Then, it will be easier to notice them.
    On the other hand, it is well known by people who study human behavior that people who see only the bright side of everything are more likely to be content (which is great!), but less likely to come up with any ground breaking idea (because when you’re happy with something, you don’t want to change it – and progress happens only when CHANGE is involved). This is just a fact.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Lorena on 16th July 2008

  • I guess I'm not following how venting your frustration with an airline relates to taking risks and not being "safe" in your professional and personal choices.

    As an alternative to allowing yourself to consistently become angry when you are on the receiving end of poor service, wouldn't it be more productive to focus on rewarding good service? Perhaps try to find one good thing, one bright point, in each business trip. Rather than go to a website to complain and vent your frustrations every time (not saying it's not appropriate sometimes, just not on a regular basis) maybe contact companies that provide great service?

    Just to add another opinion, safe does not always equal mediocre or "loser" - many times the decision to take a known route is the best thing for your family, your business or your personal life. Calculated risks are one thing, flying off and doing something just to be different is another entirely.

    I do agree that identifying problems and coming up with ways to solve them is a fabulous way to make your mark both personally and professionally. But I would recommend focusing on the positive things more than the negative ones, and doing something more productive with your time.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Kelly O on 15th July 2008