Success Comes From Stupidity

One theory that I have is that success can come from stupid things. Take this for instance:

Get your own Mclovin ID

The mclovin id maker* is a dumb idea. It's definitely something my wife would think is stupid. However, it is also a fairly popular idea, and as you may know, popularity and dumbness seem to go hand in hand.

This revelation has made my life a lot easier because I used to have the notion that I'd have to outsmart my competition, when really all I have to do is out dumb them. I thought that if I became a genius programmer then all of my problems would be solved. Instead of spending all of my time learning how to program, I should have set aside some time to take some of the dumb ideas I've had and turn those into profits. Using your dumb ideas to make you lots of money = very smart.

Here are the things I've learned to help me root out the dumb ideas:

  1. Marketing and Programming are very different. This has taken me a long time to learn...too long. When I started on the web, I came at it as a designer, and then moved to programming. I know these two perspectives very well, and when I started to get into marketing websites (ie getting traffic) I thought I knew all there was to know, but now I know that I'm pretty dumb when it comes to marketing.
  2. If you know that you don't know anything, you're in a good spot to begin learning.
  3. Treasure the dumb ideas. These are the 'wouldn't it be cool if...' and 'wouldn't it be fun to make...' kind of ideas. Write them down so you don't forget.
  4. Don't let thinking get in the way. Many dumb ideas were ruined because they were thought about too much and made smart. A good analogy here is explaining a joke.
  5. Execute your dumb ideas. In other words, don't keep them in your head. A great way for new and better dumb ideas to come to mind is to actually work on the ones you've already got. Our brains tend to work this way with all kinds of things. So do the work and you will be rewarded.
  6. Find out the things that you do that are dumb. What are your hobbies? Hobbies are dumb, start there. If you don't think you have any hobbies (I used to think this), then pick something you do a lot and call it a hobby, like going to the bathroom. That's dumb.
  7. Daydream. Daydreaming is the ultimate dumb idea manifestator.

* Jeremy Shoemaker is the creator of the mclovin id maker and is very good at thinking up dumb ideas.