Startups · Entrepreneurship

What are the most incredibly stupid ideas that have been successful?

Anonymous

September 26th, 2016

Seems like the billion dollar businesses never seem that obvious at the beginning during the early days… Look forward to the insights in this thread.

A great idea is 1% of the work. Execution is the other 99%. In this course, we’ll teach you how to conduct market analysis, create an MVP and pivot (if needed), launch your business, survey customers, iterate your product/service based on feedback, and gain traction quickly.

Irwin Stein Very experienced (40 years) corporate,securities and real estate attorney.

September 26th, 2016

I doubt that you are old enough to remember pet rocks.

Ema Chuku Designer. Product Developer. Founder @ NuPad

September 26th, 2016

There's a reason it's worth billions. Meaning it was never stupid in the first place.

Perhaps you could rephrase your wording to "incredible non-sense" business.

Safe to say Pokemon could fall in that category.



Irwin Stein Very experienced (40 years) corporate,securities and real estate attorney.

September 27th, 2016

Mr. Austin: Credit where it is due, the market did not want a pet rock, very good marketing people packaged and sold it.  Some one once said "never underestimate the American consumer".  There are a lot of moving pieces in any business. A lot of people on FD have very good ideas but no marketing budget or intend to rely on social media because it is cheap.  

Ema Chuku Designer. Product Developer. Founder @ NuPad

September 27th, 2016

@Patrick, there wasn't anything new or magical about the Airbnb idea. Other than taking a line and draw between, Craiglist and CouchSurfing. At the end it was all media hype and timing.

So there's wasn't any reason to feel uneasy it wasn't going to work. It's been working since the 17th century.


Christoph Ranaweera validate early, pivot and kill fast

September 27th, 2016

I think this always depends on the users perspective. You can say facebook is a stupid idea coz it just connects people for useless conversations on the other hand they made people connect in some cases for useful things and made a great Monetization around it mainly with ads.
someone else would say it was a great idea from the beginning.
Think of snapchat, Instagram, Airbnb, Uber, Amazon and think of the times when they started and why the hell should they be successful?

And they were mostly not even the first movers in a market. So being successful is more than a stupid or non stupid idea but that you do it in the right way.

So potentially you could even say "if you do it right you can make any irrational or crazy or insane Idea a huge success". But this comment is daring.

Marv Steigman Chief Marketing Officer

September 26th, 2016

As Ema Said, they clearly weren't stupid ideas. just ad the word 'seemingly." So it should read...

What are the most seemingly incredibly stupid ideas that have been successful?


At the time I would have thought Twitter was a stupid idea. Communicate in 140 characters or less. Really?

Another interesting, and perhaps more useful exercise, take on this might be, 'What new startups today seem like stupid ideas?" and then we can revisit this in 1 or 2 years.

John Maloney Internet of Things Executive Consultant, IoT Engineer

September 28th, 2016

The problem is, for the most part, entrepreneurs do not concern themselves with ideas or inventions. Remember, invention, per se, has no direct, immediate or apparent impact on productivity. Thus, most inventions and ideas are often considered 'incredibly stupid.'

Hunh? Yep. Anyone here born before 2000 probably know the famous 'Historical Quotes' about inventions and ideas. Here are a few...

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." -- Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943

"But what ... is it good for?" -- Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." -- Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp.,1977


Here are more Historical Quotes.


BTW, please no witless 'research' on these quotes, their context or validity. They are the classic lore of modern invention. They make the point. Read and consider.


Entrepreneurs are concerned, obsessed really, with productivity growth. It's what attracts capital. Again, for the most part, no exceptions. No one calls well-conceived productivity growth, aka, innovation, 'incredibly stupid.'


More on invention versus innovation and invention.

Patrick Colmenar Development Manager at LDProducts

September 27th, 2016

@Ema Interesting, never heard of CouchSurfing before. Looks like they have decent traction but never achieved the hyper growth of Airbnb. I guess - Y Combinator, Ashton Kutcher and better brand name - matter. 

David Austin Relentless problem solver and innovator.

September 27th, 2016

Here's the problem: nobody knows what a good idea is.  A good idea is what the market wants.  It's not necessarily what's cool.  It's not necessarily what's high-tech.  It's not even necessarily something that is good or moral or right or beneficial to people or society.

It's what the market wants.  Tons of people in the startup scene say idea isn't important and use the pet rock (or some other presumably stupid idea) as proof.  The thing is: those aren't bad ideas.  They're good ideas because it's what the market wants.

David Austin Relentless problem solver and innovator.

September 27th, 2016

Fair enough, Mr Stein ... And it was a good idea. Pet poo ... probably not a good idea, but only because there are pretty reliable indicators that the market wouldn't want it.