Successful Business Opportunities
“You don’t really have a social relationship with your customers,” analyst Nate Elliott wrote in a new report titled “Social relationship Strategies That Work.”
According to Mr. Elliott, top brands’ Facebook and Twitter posts only reach around 2% of their fans and followers, and less than 0.1% of fans and followers actually interact with each post on average.
It’s going to get easier to get good dinner reservations without being a celebrity. Scalping dinner reservations is now a thing.
Free college, and a paycheck: The Apprenticeship 2000 provides a degree, paycheck, benefits and a guaranteed job.
How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: In 1973, a young filmmaker named George Lucas scribbled some notes for a far-fetched space-fantasy epic. Some forty years and $37 billion later, Star Wars–related products outnumber human beings, a growing stormtrooper army spans the globe, and “Jediism” has become a religion in its own right. Lucas’s creation has grown into far more than a cinematic classic; it is, quite simply, one of the most lucrative, influential, and interactive franchises of all time.
The world’s most extreme commute: sheep butchers flip flop between jobs in Iceland and New Zealand.
Predicting which music will be popular is big business.
In one week it’s Thanksgiving in the United States. Someone should open a burger chain that sells this Thanksgiving burger year round.
It’s becoming more and more apparent that football is dangerous. Magnets might change that, and allow the game (and the business) of football to continue.
Goodbye server farms, and oil furnaces. Soon, someone will put their server in your basement, and it’ll heat your home and water. (Unless you live in California. We don’t have basements.)
Eating alone: four-course meals for the solo dinner.
One day care center has discovered a great way to promote themselves: they’re auctioning off a vasectomy.
Chernobyl tourism: “Until 2011, numerous tour companies were running illicit trips into the wasteland — a study cited by that same Telegraph article suggested that as many as 10,000 tourists were visiting the site each year. Since then, Chernobyl tourism has been met with official government approval.”
From Japan: a toast restaurant where you get to choose your own toaster.
What do you get when you cross billiards and soccer? Snook Ball. Video below.
what if the same earth-shaking idea occurred to two men, simultaneously and independently? Perhaps, the common factors involved would be illuminating. Consider the theory of evolution by natural selection, independently created by Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace.
There is a great deal in common there. Both traveled to far places, observing strange species of plants and animals and the manner in which they varied from place to place. Both were keenly interested in finding an explanation for this, and both failed until each happened to read Malthus’s “Essay on Population.”
Both then saw how the notion of overpopulation and weeding out (which Malthus had applied to human beings) would fit into the doctrine of evolution by natural selection (if applied to species generally).
Obviously, then, what is needed is not only people with a good background in a particular field, but also people capable of making a connection between item 1 and item 2 which might not ordinarily seem connected.
Undoubtedly in the first half of the 19th century, a great many naturalists had studied the manner in which species were differentiated among themselves. A great many people had read Malthus. Perhaps some both studied species and read Malthus. But what you needed was someone who studied species, read Malthus, and had the ability to make a cross-connection.
That is the crucial point that is the rare characteristic that must be found. Once the cross-connection is made, it becomes obvious. Thomas H. Huxley is supposed to have exclaimed after reading On the Origin of Species, “How stupid of me not to have thought of this.”
But why didn’t he think of it? The history of human thought would make it seem that there is difficulty in thinking of an idea even when all the facts are on the table. Making the cross-connection requires a certain daring. It must, for any cross-connection that does not require daring is performed at once by many and develops not as a “new idea,” but as a mere “corollary of an old idea.”
It is only afterward that a new idea seems reasonable. To begin with, it usually seems unreasonable. It seems the height of unreason to suppose the earth was round instead of flat, or that it moved instead of the sun, or that objects required a force to stop them when in motion, instead of a force to keep them moving, and so on.
A person willing to fly in the face of reason, authority, and common sense must be a person of considerable self-assurance. Since he occurs only rarely, he must seem eccentric (in at least that respect) to the rest of us. A person eccentric in one respect is often eccentric in others.
Consequently, the person who is most likely to get new ideas is a person of good background in the field of interest and one who is unconventional in his habits. (To be a crackpot is not, however, enough in itself.)
In the 1994 comedy Dumb and Dumber, Jeff Daniels’s character Harry Dunne spends his life savings converting a utility van into a mobile dog-grooming business — called Mutt Cutts and made up to look like a sheepdog—then ditches the business to go goofballing across the country with Jim Carrey. That is to say, Dunne is a classic case of an entrepreneur who gives up on a good idea too soon.
In the two decades between the first movie and the sequel, Dumb and Dumber To, which opens Friday, what Americans spend on pets exploded to $56 billion last year, from $17 billion in 1994, according to the American Pet Products Association. Meanwhile, the number of pet-care businesses—groomers, trainers, kennels, and doggy day-care centers—more than doubled to 14,000 from 1998 to 2012.
That includes thousands of entrepreneurs like Shaffia Galis-Menendez, who runs a West Orange (N.J.) grooming business in a tricked-out 2014 Dodge Promaster, equipped with stainless steel bathtub, adjustable grooming tables, and storage for all manner of shears, detanglers, shampoos, and canine colognes. With her poodle Hamlet riding shotgun, Galis-Menendez usually makes five stops a day. She has about 200 clients. Appointments have to be booked three months in advance. “There’s a little saying in this industry,” she says. “It’s not about finding dogs to groom, it’s about finding groomers to groom them.”
Jake Wade is a recent graduate of CSU Chico’s entrepreneurship program where, in his freshman year he co-founded a company called Parallel Revolution. The company has pivoted, and modified their business model half a dozen times since the beginning, but today they’re firmly entrenched in a niche that they call “Eco-USA-Craftsmanship.”
I recently had a chance to speak with him, and to find out more about the mind, and the life, of a millennial entrepreneur.
For those who don’t know you already, who are you, and what’s “Parallel Revolution”?
My legal name is Jake Wade, but my friends call me Buffalo most of the time, and my Latino friends call me Canelo (they think I look like Saúl Álvarez, the Mexican boxer). I’m a recent graduate of CSU Chico’s entrepreneurship program, I like heavily hopped IPA’s, getting weird on the dance floor (or any floor for that matter) and adventuring into the wild with friends, preferably in areas with no cell service.
My day-to-day revolves around operating/building Parallel Revolution. We’ve completed a production run of what we believe to be the most sustainable shirt in the world, made in America. An “old” tagline of ours is “Planet Earth’s Preferred Outfitter,” which stems from our commitment in making things earth can be proud of (or would “approve”).
Simply put, the two primary goals of Parallel Revolution are as follows:
- Craft quality hemp clothing without the “tie-dye,” let handsome design do the selling and hemp’s natural properties deliver lasting satisfaction for the customer.
- Be available. Treat customers like old coffee-shop friends and make sure we’ve delivered a product they love so we can sleep well at night.
How’s it going?
I’m doing well overall. Good days. Bad days. The usual, especially for a venture like this, you can’t get bogged down every time something goes awry, so I’ve stopped doing that and my general mood is more pleasant nowadays.
What motivates you to keep going through the hard times?
History. If not my own personal history (remembering past progress, how many happy customers we have, etc.), then literally reading history. It helps me keep things in perspective, which is crucial during a rough patch. Specifically, reading about the beginnings of, say, Heinz or Tesla Motors. One night, after getting showered with bad news for weeks, I was really stressed and felt like quitting. Then I started reading about the history of Harley-Davidson, which is not only interesting, but also riddled with failure. I distinctly remember reading a section about how production quality had plummeted so dramatically that “brand new” bikes were leaking oil on the showroom floor. I meditated on that for a while and figured my situation wasn’t that bad.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I was a car salesman during the summer of 2010, which ended up being one of the worst seasons for car buying in history. I think I sold 6 cars over 3 months, which was far below even the lowest projections for the industry. There were weeks where I’d only see/interact with 1 or 2 “leads,” working 7 days in a row for 10-12 hours a day. It was brutal.
I got really good at standing for long periods of time and being alone with myself, along with a wicked farmer’s tan. At the end of it all, I had gained a lot of personal discipline, patience, resilience I suppose.
What are 3-5 tools you use, and would recommend (Apps, software, processes, etc) and why?
I had to think on this one since I don’t use sexy tools and tech:
- A planner. I still use a paper schedule and pen to plan out most of my days – slots start at 7:00AM and end at 7:00PM. On a “perfect” day, I’ll have almost every slot accounted for and I just have to execute them, the physical “crossing out” of each item is my reward.
- The “Notes” app (and moleskin notepad). I have a few major categories where I write anything/everything down when I’m on-the-go. Especially because I tend to get my best ideas when I’m not in the office or in front of my computer. Moleskin notepad for when you’re taking notes from someone live or brainstorming with another person in 3D.
- Waterproof phone case. This is so I can take notes in the shower (where most of my marketing thoughts happen).
- Exercise. I try my best to sweat a minimum of 3 times a week. It’s been said a million times but if you haven’t listened yet, I’m here to confirm, it makes a huge difference.
- A huge breakfast. It goes a long way, especially for days when you’re putting out fires/handling emergencies and don’t have time to grab lunch.
What is one book our readers should read and why?
At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson. Close to 600 pages detailing how innovation that happens in the “outside” world ends up in our homes, from dinning tables to windows to mousetraps. I read it over the course of about a year before bed to help me gain perspective and, at times, inspiration. Great book to have around to mix things up, I mean hell; you can’t read The Lean Startup everyday.
Who are 3 people our readers should follow on Twitter and why? (This is a really important question. If you don’t use Twitter, just list three famous people you admire, and I’ll find their Twitter accounts.)
Elon Musk @elonmusk – I firmly believe he is the Einstein of our time. Plus I’m a small investor in Tesla Motors, one of these days I’ll own a Model S P85D.
Joe Rogan @joerogan – I like his perspective on a lot of things, his podcasts are great.
Eric Barker @bakadesuyo – I’ve been reading his blog for years now, always a breath of fresh air, superb interviewer and journalist
Jack Johnson @jackjohnson – His dedication to sustainability and local support is incredible.
How can our readers connect with you? (Website, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
And I’m decent with email: firstname.lastname@example.org
What do you do when you’re not working?
Cooking, playing music, going on adventures, fiddling around in a friend’s woodshop when I have time, drinking beer. I’m a big fan of throwing “family nights,” which are basically themed dinner parties with a bunch of friends. I built an oak table that seats about 10 people; we put the food in the middle and eat family style.
Finally, everyone’s favorite question: tell us a secret.
I have OCD. I eat the same thing for breakfast everyday.
What’s in the the future?
I think the future is based on the past. For me, I’m trying to bring the past into the future. Hemp was and always has been a better alternative for countless products, clothing included. It’s far superior to cotton and synthetic fibers and it needs to make a huge comeback. We’re really embracing the role of the “underdog” with what we’re doing currently. There are regulatory issues, awareness issues and misinformation, which is why I’m talking to you now. Thank you for sharing my story, and thank you for helping bring consciousness and awareness to your readers.
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