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Exploring new ideas

Learning has never been easier. Whether you're looking to learn to cook, speak a new language, write a song, play the guitar or ride a bike, you are guaranteed to find good resources at the touch of a few buttons. There's either an app that will help you out, or a Youtube video or a blog dedicated to the thing you're looking to learn.

The constraint on resources is disappearing quick as more and more people get on the Internet. But this is only half the ingredient. Mere access to resources means nothing. There is still a need for a coach, a teacher - either in an external figure who motivates and inspires you and holds you accountable, or an internal voice in your head that drives you to learn.

Most people end up performing a cost/benefit analysis before deciding to take out the time to learn something new, and only end up putting in the effort to learn if they feel it results in a considerable increase in their monetary prospects, social standing or occasionally, internal satisfaction.

This is how product companies work as well after initial success. Every new venture, every new idea has to pass the cost/benefit analysis before it receives investment in the form of time and resources. While obviously having a good return on investment is among the top priorities for anyone, this stifles new ideas from being explored.

You can avoid this in two ways.

One, become so successful and so big that nobody else can come close to competing with you in your core business. This will let you forget about out-doing the competition and focus on bringing to life new ideas. Google is a good example.

Two, stop thinking about scaling and focus only on the small group that is affected by the new idea today. And serve them so well that no big player can match you. Local restaurants and local theatre are good examples.

Not everyone gets to be Google and follow through on their Project Loon. But the only way to become one is to not try to follow the first way, but the second.

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