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Ideas are just the beginning

Ideas are just the beginning

“Ideas are like a slippery fish. If you don’t spear them with a pencil, they get away.” —Earl Nightingale

I was watching the news on TV the other evening, where I watched a very interesting interview with Marc Randolph, co-founder and first CEO of Netflix, He talked about the early days with his friend and co-founder Reed Hastings. 

Recently out of work, the two sat around a table in a nearby coffee shop to come up with ideas for their next adventure. Shampoo delivery service and custom dog food to name a few. One idea that seemed appealing was a DVD movie mail business. To test it out they bought an old DVD, put it in a first-class envelope and mailed it to themselves. To their surprise it arrived the next day undamaged. This idea could just work, they thought.

On August 1997, they founded Netflix in a small office in Scotts Valley, California, mostly filled with old chairs and desks taken from their homes. All they had was guts, belief and long hours taking on an industry they had no experience or knowledge in. Debt eventually reached $50 million, and they tried selling to Blockbuster, who just laughed at them and turned them down. 

Fast forward to today, Netflix’s has over 150 million subscribers, just delivered their 5th billion DVD. Yes, they still mail them, and revenue is over $16 billion. Not bad for two people who had no idea what they were doing.

Marc Randolph just wrote a book about his journey titled “That Will Never Work.” How many times do we hear that when we have an idea and tell someone? When we started TheHomeMag we had the same experience. Just an idea, do a magazine with only Home Improvement and only have advertising inside with no articles. Everyone laughed at us. But we kept going, advertisers got great results. We kept improving, trying different things to get better. I would say the journey took 10 years to really perfect the product and get the necessary footprint. Last year we printed over 180 million magazines in 70 markets. 

Ideas are just the beginning. “Ideas pull the trigger, but instinct loads the gun.” -Don Marquis. Ideas start the process, it’s neither good or bad until you start asking around and getting feedback. Test the product, change it. Make it better. Ideas are the universe way of expanding our minds to show what is possible. Always keep a notebook and write down your ideas. They come at you in all kind of ways, in the shower, while driving, at night when you sleep you suddenly have this profound thought about something very clear. Don’t let it escape. 

We live in a golden age of innovation and technology. All the tools, information and opportunities are out there for anyone to reach as high as they can dream. It’s time to take your idea and make it a reality. 

Go make it happen. 

— Ralph