The heart of tech

This article was published on June 30, 2011


    Obvious ideas are better than original ideas

    Obvious ideas are better than original ideas
    Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
    Story by

    Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

    CEO and co-founder, TNW

    Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and pr.co. Boris is very active on Twitter as @Boris and Instagram: @Boris.

    Boris is the wise ol’ CEO of TNW who writes a weekly column on everything about being an entrepreneur in tech — from managing stress to embracing awkwardness. You can get his musings straight to your inbox by signing up for his newsletter!

    Question: What can you sit on, sleep on, and brush your teeth with?

    The answer to the riddle is at the end of the post. Think about it while you read on or scroll down if you are really curious.

    Some people are always looking for great ideas.
    Original ideas.
    ‘Never done before’ ideas.
    Revolutionary ideas.
    Ideas that can change the world!

    But the ideas that change the world seldom appear that way when they first develop. They just seem like obvious and cute little ideas. The ‘world changing’ comes later. If you are looking for inspiration you might want to focus on the obvious.

    So what is obvious? Usually it is the stuff happening right in front of you. It is so close and obvious you overlook it at first.

    Here is the dilemma: it takes an outsider to break and ignore the rules but it takes an insider to know what rules to break and see an opportunity for change.

    You need to dive in, absorb the medium, then take a step back to see the opportunity. You do this by breaking the pattern.

    Buy a magazine about a topic that doesn’t interest you.
    Travel to a city you’ve never been before.
    Take a walk in the woods, or a long shower.
    Read a random page on Wikipedia.
    Read a book, visit a museum or talk to a stranger.

    When you have an idea, and you think ‘but that is just so obvious’ please pursue it. You can’t rush a revolution.

    The answer to the riddle: A chair, a bed, and a toothbrush.

    Can’t get enough of Boris? Check out his older stories here, and sign up for his newsletter here.