How To Come Up With Big Ideas

I had noodles for breakfast at the office this morning.

As much as I’ve never been a big fan of noodles, I’m thinking about how far we’ve come as Nigerians eating noodles.

You see, Nigerians had never eaten noodles before Indomie came in.

They even accused the Indians of trying to feed them worms.

And it was a serious struggle for Tolaram (makers of Indomie) to sell it to us.

But the makers had a target – an inexpensive easy to prepare a meal that would carter to two things:

– The average Nigerian didn’t have a lot of money but needed to eat.

– The average working-class Nigerian (woman) didn’t have time to prepare food because it’s time-wasting.

It’s even said penetrating the market was so hard they didn’t make any profit for the first 4 years they operated.

Whatever they made they kept reinvesting into the business.

But once they blew up, it was MASSIVE!!!

And this brings me to the concept of coming up with big ideas.

You see, to come up with a big idea, you either create demand or chase demand.

The easiest way is to chase demand. You’re just going to have more competition.

The hardest is creating demand and it’s like 200x harder than chasing demand.

But it’s like crack because when it works, it’s fire!!!! Some addictive shit!

Think of Defi & crypto

People have always been looking for ways to move money without hassles or being noticed.

Whether for good – asset protection, importation of goods etc, or for bad – tax evasion, funding terrorism, paying for drugs, prostitutes etc.

If you’ve heard of The Silk Road, you’ll catch my drift.

If you haven’t, well, it was an online black market and the first modern darknet market, best known as a platform for selling illegal drugs.

Rich people or people with an eye for investment have always been looking for a new asset class or store of value for their wealth.

Defi came in chasing a demand – for mostly rich people, investors, nerds, geeks & rebels looking to beat the system or just people with sinister plans.

That was big money but to a smaller pool of people.

It became bigger when average people figured out a way to make money daily from cryptocurrency – by trading it.

Think of Airpods

Apple took out earphone jacks first and told you it was to give the phone a better overall look.

Then they packaged earbuds and sold them to you as swag later on 😁

That’s how they created demand.

There are other noodles in the Nigerian market nowadays, but there’s a reason why we call all noodles Indomie.

And that’s because creating demand is crazy.

Joe Schriefer (the copy chief at Agora Financial) had this to say about big ideas:
I’d say 80% of our ideas are chasing demand. The other 20% are wildly swinging shots that we’re trying to create demand for.

These fail 90% of the time, but the 1 out of 10 that we do have when we create demand can be a grand slam.

Now if you can do that, that can also put you in the 1000 orders a day range, and much higher than that (some of our best promotions have done over 10,000 sales a day).

So, you can chase demand and hit the 1000 order a day range and have a lot of competition, or you can create demand and carve out a nice moat that the competition can’t keep up with.

This is creating a demand style of coming up with big ideas falls within the part of the economy called non-consumption as explained in The Prosperity Paradox.

I won’t go into explaining that in this tweet.

But @TheEmmaIbekwe once made a tweet asking why fufu was more popular than yam in Igboland despite yam’s status as King of crops and I told him it was because of:

Availability

N50 Santana would hold body, soul & spirit together. But king of crops is too proud to be satchetized 😭

Price

King of crops means yam is darn expensive compared to fufu.
– Seasonality
– Durability

That’s a template for your big idea.

Let it guide you.

By the way, if you haven’t read The Prosperity Paradox by @EfosaEjomo and @ClayChristensen, you’re sleeping on a bicycle.


Seasonality

Yam is special because of it’s seasonality.


Durability

You can warm fufu.

But how dare you warm the king of crops? How dare you?

That’s a template for your big idea.

Let it guide you.

By the way, if you haven’t read The Prosperity Paradox by @EfosaEjomo and @ClayChristensen, you’re sleeping on a bicycle.

Uche Okoro

Writer. Sales & Marketing. Business & Investing Afficionado.

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