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Conceptual Blending Can Make You Millions -- No Wait; That's Billions

As seen on Forbes.

It’s like magic.

Go to the mailbox.  Peek inside.  Another book appears.

A strange thing started happening the day I started writing for Forbes.

Books would just drop from book heaven and land in my mailbox.

Why you ask?

I don’t know.  For promotion I suppose.  If I read it, maybe I’ll talk about it with you?  Maybe they’ll sell more books that way.

But here’s the deal:  You are the only one I care about.  (Well, besides my wife, kids, family, friends and neighbors.)

You as an entrepreneur.  Your dreams of success.  You striving to reach them.

If I discover a rich vein of wisdom in a book — I’m going to share it with you.  Period.

Matters not if the book came from Amazon on my dime; or if the thing did some kind of “hocus pocus” in my mailbox.  I want to help you with wisdom and guidance.  Goodness — it’s hard enough building a stellar business.  So hey, if I can throw you some bits of wisdom now and again, happy to do it.

So let’s start with these 3 juicy nuggets right here…

Bit ‘O Wisdom #1:  Information Consumption Can Kill Entrepreneurs

Found this little nugget tucked away on page 38 of a book called “Your Best Just Got Better” by Jason W. Womack.

Hit me like a ton of bricks.  Why?  Because it’s true.

Lord knows we are slammed with more information everyday than we can handle.

Overwhelmed.

So maybe you should stop reading right now and get your fanny working on the most important things you can be doing?  (Jason calls the most important things: “MITs”.)

Believe me.  I won’t be offended.

I just want you to succeed.  I want you to work on high level stuff.  I want you to hit a grand slam as an entrepreneur.

Now does this mean all information consumption is bad?

No.  Of course not.

We have to keep learning.  An entrepreneur cannot stop taking in information.

But you have to be smart about it.  Have boundaries.  Focus on learning the stuff you need to and say “no” to the rest.  As my friend Timo Kiander says: “If you’re wasting your time on something you shouldn’t be doing, then clearly this is a sign you have to pull your act together and become more organized.”

Don’t let information consumption kill your productivity as an entrepreneur.

Bit ‘O Wisdom #2:  Conceptual Blending Can Make You Millions — No Wait, That’s Billions.

Conceptual Blending.

Ever heard of it?  Me neither — until I found this juicy nugget in a book called “Creative Thinkering” by Michael Michalko.

As Michael describes it;

“Conceptual blending is a creative thinking process that involves blending two or more concepts in the same mental space to form new ideas”.

Okay, that’s really great and all — but what does this have to do with being an entrepreneur and making billions?

The answer?  Everything.

What’s Google?  You think they invented “search”?  For those of us old enough to remember, Yahoo! was the only game in town in the late 90’s (well, that and a few others like Lycos, Excite and whatever —  but now we’re getting away from the point.)

So Yahoo! owned the space – and then came little startup Google.  Conceptually blending ideas to create a “better way” to search.

Oh, and what exactly is the iPhone?  Um, let’s see:  MP3 Player + Cell Phone + Internet

Did Steve and his crew at Apple invent any of these 3 items?  Of course not.

But wow, he knocked it out of the park with his own version of “conceptual blending” and created a billion dollar product.

And goodness, if you’ve really been taking care of yourself and eating healthy, you’ll remember back to 1908 with Henry Ford and his conceptual blending bonanza.  You know, taking the assembly line idea from the meatpacking and slaughterhouse industry and sticking it in his auto business.  Pure genius, right?

You and I must grab onto this notion:  The gold is not in creating some new species of animal.  The gold is in figuring out new ways, products and such from combining two or more existing ideas.

Now is this good news or bad news for entrepreneurs?  Neither.

This is GREAT news.

Laying there in a sweat, late at night, we no longer have to dream up some new invention of an idea in order to start our businesses or make it big.  Thank goodness for that, right?  I mean, you cannot imagine how many “wanna be” entrepreneurs I talk to who are sitting around on their bums waiting to have this eureka moment of inspiration.  You know — “the newest thing since sliced bread”.

Well, forget about that.  You don’t have to wait for lightning to strike.  You and I can just start conceptually blending things that already exist.

Like maybe a laptop that makes toast and eggs so I can have breakfast right now?

Bit ‘O Wisdom #3:  Bake the WOW into Everything You Do

Listen: It doesn’t take a genius to figure out we’re living in a new world.  Business is not the same as it used to be.

Every Tom, Dick and Harry (sorry guys) is able to compete for your customer’s attention, money and loyalty.

So what’s an entrepreneur to do?

Bake in the WOW.

This little nugget comes from a book I just finished called “Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World” by author Michael Hyatt.

Basically, stop putting out mediocre products and service, and start “wowing” your customers.  You must rise above the junk out there and be different.  Really focus on delighting every single customer…  actually, make that “person”, you meet.

Again, this isn’t some new concept.  I’m sure you’ve heard it before.  But are you doing it?  Are you really all-in on developing products, services and messages to knock the socks off your customers?  Are you really doing everything you can do delight them with your customer service?

In this day and age, failure to bake the WOW into your company is a ticket to the abyss.

Yuck.  No thanks on that.

So let’s plug these 3 nuggets of wisdom into our lives as entrepreneurs:

Watch for information overload; start conceptually blending everything; and focus on wowing customers.

And hey — thanks Jason, Michael and Michael for sharing your wisdom.  Please know you’ve helped some entrepreneurs today.

Right entrepreneur?  Were these tidbits helpful to you?  Which one really stands out for you personally?  Give me all you’ve got below…

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About the Author: Eric T. Wagner is a husband, father and life-long entrepreneur. After starting multiple businesses, Eric is now focused on helping other entrepreneurs find the path to success in business and life. You can also catch his gig on Forbes or connect with him on Google+.

Comments

  1. Matt Brandt says:

    Eric - Thanks for this post. The notion of Conceptual Blending is very intriguing to me.

    I've lived in China for the last 10 years, and have witnessed massive changes (and creation of wealth) all around me.

    Maybe this new idea will allow me to create something great?

    Matt
    Changping China

    PS Also love your thinking around the synergies of "MY WISDOM + YOU WISDOM"

    • Eric T. Wagner says:

      Thanks Matt.

      Yes -- it is an amazing tool for entrepreneurs to think through strategic innovation and how to solve their customer's pain in new ways.

      And definitely getting exposed to new things helps open our eyes -- like you're doing in China. If you know the story of Howard Schultz and his venture to Italy to experience coffee bars, you'll see the picture of how Starbucks came to fruition.

      Eric

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