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In his book, “Originals,” (Penguin Random House, 2016) Adam Grant’s Chapter Two, Blind Inventors and One-Eyed Investors, discusses how misguided certain opinions can be. Two of his examples are the invention of the Segway and the creation of Seinfeld.

Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, and other innovators absolutely, positively loved the Segway. They thought it would revolutionize the world the way computers and (and other recent inventions) did. Almost everybody at NBC panned Seinfeld and it took one person’s lobbying to, barely, get past it’s pilot episode.

We know how the above two things ended. The Segway was and is a novelty, another way to say a flop. Seinfeld was one of the most successful television shows ever and I’ll bet you can find an episode on your TV now and almost anytime day and night.

Grant’s point (simplified here) is certain people should not be the deciders. Jobs, Bezos, and the others saw innovation for innovations sake but didn’t address the market need or want. The management people at NBC saw something different than the typical sitcom and couldn’t understand the concept.

One comedian interviewed in the book said he didn’t care what 20 people in a test audience or what some management person thought. They aren’t his indicator of success. His indicator of success is if he can make other comedians laugh  because then he knows he has a winner.

My point here is, if you have a new idea for your business be careful with certain feedback.

  • Management will probably be cool to the idea, as it’s different.
  • Customers set in their ways will be hesitant to try something new.
  • Your salespeople may find it outside their comfort zone, and want to sell the same old product (solution).

Find your comedian (user) to test your new jokes (product or service) and be careful when people are too excited or too down on something.

“If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.” Emma Goodman

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