Be like Frankenstein
As I’m sure you know, Frankenstein was the fictional scientist who breathed life into his famous monster. Like him, it’s absolutely essential that you give a proper birth to every good idea you have. Each idea you think up is like a delicate newborn baby and unless you give it two things, it can easily die.
It needs: food and armour. The most important meal you can give an idea you have is to immediately write it down or make a note of it. How often have you thought of a fantastic idea, only to forget it a few hours later or the next day? By turning the ideas you’ve written down into some kind of initial mock-up, rough sketch or model (this is the armour bit), it will immediately give your idea a massive boost in power and give it the best chance of living a fruitful life.
The 33% rule
When you’re planning to send something new out into the world and you're feeling nervous - as pretty much all of us would be, then the 33% rule may help reassure you. Roughly 33% of people will like what you do, about 33% of people will dislike what you do, and about 33% of people won’t care.
No matter what you produce, be it the Mona Lisa, Beethoven’s Fifth, a Michelin-starred meal or the Sistine Chapel, not every single person on the planet will ever agree that what you’ve done is amazing. This is actually great news and very empowering. Once you realise that it's impossible to please everybody, it frees you up to go with your best judgment.
Pretend you're an insider
When I want to find someone brilliant to work with, I visit a trade fair. There you’ll find tons of brilliant people all under one roof who all have expertise in an area you’re interested in. Once there, make it your goal to get business cards that allow you to contact companies at a later date.
Then, around two weeks after the trade fair (after the company has probably dealt with most of the orders and meetings arising from the fair), email or call them and explain where you met. By mentioning you crossed paths at the recent trade fair, it marks you out as being a little more serious about their area of expertise, an insider almost, and not just another random cold call. Then, you can enquire whether they ever work with partners – and if they do – and are interested in meeting you, arrange a date to visit them at their premises (you can tell a lot about a company from their offices and team).
Once there, you can then pitch your ideas to them, and see if they’ll partner with you. Your ideas, coupled with the experience and talents of passionate experts, can make anything happen.
Conventional wisdom says that mistakes are ‘bad’ and should be avoided at all cost. Well, that stops now because both you and I should throw open the windows and proclaim, ‘Mistakes are great!’. Failing is something to strive for – and ideally, we must all learn to want to fail.
I’d like to try and plant a seed in your mind so that you’ll begin to actively chase the process of making mistakes, because only then will you know you’re on the road to success. Of course, if you’re a heart surgeon, this wisdom has a slightly different resonance. I’m not advocating that you aim to make mistakes in your day job (we don’t want anyone to die now, do we!) – but the principle still stands.
But even the pioneers of heart surgery must have tried surgery on animal hearts (and even some live, human hearts) before they got it exactly right. The important fact to remember is that no progress is made unless new ideas are tried - and mistakes are made.