Idea Men (and Women); Sometimes all it Takes is a Really Good Idea
“I’m an idea man, Chuck. I get ideas all the time…sometimes I get so many ideas that I can’t even fight them off. You know I had the idea for wash ‘n’ dries? First? But they already had ‘em.”
Michael Keaton as Bill Blazejowski in Ron Howard’s Night Shift (1982)
A good idea can mean the difference between poverty and riches, between fame and obscurity. Have you ever had an idea that you just knew was good, but you ignored it? There are a great number of people who are very wealthy today all because they had just one good idea. Here are a few examples.
George was a filmmaker who had found success with his first major release, a movie about teenage life in the 1950’s. Still, he was having trouble getting his next movie OK’d by any studio. George was almost going to shelve the project when he had a good idea. He approached the studio and offered to make the movie for free. He’d take no pay as writer or director, but would own all of the rights to the film’s merchandising. The studio agreed. Star Wars went on to break all previous box office records and spawn five sequels. The movies also resulted in merchandising the likes of which had never been seen before and George Lucas is now a very wealthy man.
Bessie was working as a secretary in the ‘50s when she had her good idea. Using white tempera paint as a starting point, she created a “correction fluid” that typists could literally paint over their errors, allow it to dry, and keep on typing. Liquid Paper is still used in offices all over the world, despite the prevalence of computers. When Bessie Nesmith died in 1980 she had made a fortune and none of it had anything to do with her son Michael’s being a member of The Monkees.
Not everyone is going to be a George Lucas or Bessie Nesmith, and not every idea is going to create an empire. But a good idea can turn into a moneymaker, even if it just gives you a little extra cash. The next time you have one, don’t shrug it off and ignore it. Look into it, develop it, and see what happens. One day someone may write about you and what you did with your good idea.