Good ideas done dirt cheap…

Why is the simplest always the hardest? Look at the coat hanger for example, a single piece of metal wire, a few simple bends and a twist and our closets are full of them. I’m not certain what the average wire coat hanger costs but I imagine that it can’t be more than a few pennies to manufacture and market. I guess what I love about coat hangers – apart from their non clothing uses to open locked car doors or cook hotdogs – is that this is such a simple idea and yet it serves a huge market.

The same is true of paperclips and three-hole punches – all simple ideas with huge market potential. Not every simple idea is easy to execute. Look at Google, for instance, a simple idea on the surface but requiring millions of lines of code to realize. Ebay was a simple idea, create a web site for Beany Baby collectors to buy and sell their little stuffed delights.

The most simple ideas usually start with frustration. I imagine the coat hanger was developed because someone finally got tired of finding their clothing all over the floor of their closet. Screaming, “Enough is enough!”; this mad inventor was whipping his clothing with a piece of wire when voila, the idea leaped and our closets have never been the same.

So if you are looking for a good idea, the best place to start is what pisses you off the most. Pissed off at Microsoft’s internet browser because of its security flaws? Develop Firefox. Hate the way Yahoo delivers its search results? Develop Google.

And the road goes ever on…

Take a look around and think about what is pissing you off right now. It’s a great place to start.

By the way, in case you were wondering the wire coat hanger was developed by Albert J. Parkhouse in 1903, you can read all about it here.

Posted to Sparkplug Copyright by Peter McGarvey 2007.

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