Recently I had a conversation with Dan Pallotta, who is an entrepreneur, activist, and humanitarian. I love having discussions with global thought leaders. Everyone needs inspiration from time to time, and there’s nothing better than getting an injection of energy from a kindred spirit. Following are some of the words that Dan told me:
“Be ridiculous. If you’re not being ridiculous, you’re not exploring your organization’s true potential. Everything in the world that makes us go “Wow,” was born of some absurd human being with a ridiculous, impossible idea—from the Eiffel Tower to landing on the moon to the idea of America herself. We are taught that prudence is sophistication. The opposite is true. The most sophisticated things I’ve ever seen in my life—the most intelligent solutions to the greatest technical challenges in history—all came from someone being ridiculous. Ridiculous is what really tests us. Stretches us. Forces us to use the full measures of our intelligence, creativity, fortitude, and strength.
“Anything less and our true potential for intelligence, creativity, strength, and fortitude gets left on the table, never to see the light of day.”
The Most Audacious Ideas Work
I agree with Dan. Being ridiculous works. I’ve done it plenty of times, and it’s worked for the creation of my various businesses and brands. Having the most audacious idea and being determined to do it is what has made the U.S. the powerhouse that it has been for generations regarding innovation and leadership in business. As Dan said, the idea of America was formed by Europeans who decided to move to another continent and build a new nation. More than likely, many of our country’s forefathers and mothers had people telling them that they were crazy or couldn’t achieve what they wanted.
I bet that in the years that Benjamin Franklin spent in France in the French royal court keeping them engaged in helping fund the American Revolutionary War, some of the French thought he was crazy and the vision for America was not ultimately possible.
Ridiculously Audacious Companies
Some of the most successful businesses have been those created by entrepreneurs and leaders with ideas that were big, and they decided to get out there and see what they could make of those ridiculously audacious ideas. These companies include:
- Thinkmodo has created some of the world’s craziest video mash-ups that have gone viral as a marketing company for other businesses.
- Factual is looking to be the world’s largest repository of data. It already runs the data information of 70 million businesses around the world.
- Goldieblox decided it was time to break gender stereotypes for girls in the toy industry and in fewer than two years of operation placed an ad on the Super Bowl.
- Icon Aircraft developed a flying craft that is akin to a flying car. It was designed to sell to the public, and because of it, it had to be simple to operate.
- Eventbrite wanted to have a happy and productive company, and it lowered its attrition rate in the competitive Silicon Valley area to 5 percent. In Silicon Valley, the rate is 14 percent.
As an entrepreneur, one of the tragedies I’ve seen in corporate business, and life, is that many talented people have incredibly good ideas for a new product, service or company. Then, they begin to speak to people who tell them that “it won’t work.” An essential thing to remember is that countless people, unfortunately, like to play it safe. Taking the risk and putting yourself out there, especially when it’s something that others don’t really understand or fully appreciate, is not easy. But, the alternative has caused the world to be littered with ridiculous ideas that could have worked––if only that person decided to ignore everyone else.
Author of “Not Your Father’s Charity: Grip & Rip Leadership for Social Impact” (Free Digital Download)
© 2018 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.