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Look for the Novel

Look for the Novel

While out on my nightly stroll, it occurred to me that it has been almost 8 years since the idea of a podcast was introduced. I was in Nashville when I first heard the term, and was delighted to discover what it meant. From that point on, I could download audio content and listen to it anytime, anywhere I wanted. Additionally, I (as just some joe schmo sitting in his apartment) could produce and distribute radio-quality content and have it reach MORE people than a radio station ever could. I remember distinctly thinking “this is awesome and this is going to be the future!”

But I also remember what almost everyone else thought (and said) at the time: “what a novel idea…..”

Only in that case “novel” was said with a dash of derogatory tone. As if it were “quaint” or “amusing.” Something to be dismissed as a passing niche.

This got me thinking about other ideas that have sprung up over the last decade: cloud computing, Kindles, hybrid cars, LED light bulbs, using DSLR cameras for serious film projects….. All of these were referred to as “novel” ideas by industry insiders and normal people alike. And they were continually dismissed until enough folks found ways to turn these ideas into tons of money. Once that happened these ideas became “revolutionary” and “groundbreaking.”

Novel: new and not resembling something formerly known or used

History is packed full of ideas exactly like this. The personal computer was just another “novel idea” in the late 70s and early 80s. The Model T Automobile was a “novel idea” for rich people and hobbyists in the early 1900s. The ubiquitous coffee shop was a “novel idea” until Howard Shultz turned Starbucks into a billion dollar industry.

So look for the novel ideas in your own life. Find something that you think is amazing, but others sort of look at with a confused face or an eye-roll. Chances are that idea will be the next American success story.

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