I love watching videos made by Great Big Story. I like it because they create extremely viral videos of objects and people we did not even know existed. They are viral because the stories are unique and entertaining. One I can’t forget is a video about an instrument used for horror movies and the man behind the game solitaire. Great Big Story reminds me of an entrepreneur who sees the 1% everyone misses and turns it into a cultural phenomenon.
It will be valuable for a company to have someone or a department who sees that 1%. Imagine if you have one, you will always have that innovative idea that can bring competitive advantage to your business.
Almost all who ate at Jollibee would buy another rice but it was Mang Inasal who was culture sensitive and offered unli-rice to Filipinos who are big rice eaters. After that, almost every business copied the unli-rice concept. In 1920’s Japan, Matsushita created a battery powered bike lamp that lasted 10x longer out of frustration with what was currently available then. To be able to see that 1% everyone misses, one must have a keen sense of how a culture is, its flaws, wants and needs, technology and information available at hand.
Can this keen sense of seeing potential be acquired? The answer is yes. I have college students who never saw themselves as entrepreneurs but were able to start a business of their own. I have another student who did not come from a family of entrepreneurs; this is relevant because almost everyone who chose entrepreneurship as a course comes from an entrepreneurial family. This student of mine really saw himself as a successful entrepreneur, he studied the lives of entrepreneurs and read a lot of books. In short, he worked to become one. He is one of my students who became a serial entrepreneur.
To be able to start training to sense potentials, one must think that entrepreneurial opportunities are made out of things put together (not necessarily add or take away. Jobs did not add anything with the first iphone or take away something, instead, he put touch screen and phone technology to come up with a minimalist phone) for the purpose of solving a problem. It may be a style of doing something applied to another discipline. I have a student who is into arts and she sells personalized portraits based on her own style of drawing, so that is putting her style into art. Jeff Bezos put together books and ecommerce. This was after he saw a data of a big growth of internet users. Going back to Mang Inasal, they put together culture and dining. This question maybe asked: what can I put together that will make sense to my target.
To think like an entrepreneur is to see opportunities as ideas put together to come up with a solution.