How Many Entrepreneurs Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?

John Livesay |


Let’s face it whether we work for ourselves or a company, we are always challenged to “come up with new ways of doing things.” That is at the heart of what makes a successful entrepreneur. What problem can I uniquely solve now that will impact many people and has the potential to scale?

So the answer to how many entrepreneurs does it take to change a light bulb is three:

1) One to figure out how to use solar energy to power a light bulb so it never needs to be replaced again.

2) One to create a robot to change it for you.

3) One to get a drone to deliver it to you 10 minutes before it burns out.

Each of these ideas shows what is at the heart of being someone who can think outside of the box.

The first idea is to completely step away from the problem and think of a way that doesn’t even require that solution.

This is what is known as lateral thinking. An example is :

"You are driving down the road in your car on a wild, stormy night, when you pass by a bus stop and you see three people waiting for the bus:

1. An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.

2. An old friend who once saved your life.

3. The perfect partner you have been dreaming about.

Knowing that there can only be one passenger in your car, whom would you choose? Solution: The old lady of course! After helping the old lady into the car, you can give your keys to your friend, and wait with your perfect partner for the bus."

Shawn Snow has a great book on lateral thinking called “Smart Cuts

The second idea is the awareness that Oxford University researchers have estimated that 47% of U.S. jobs could be automated within the next two decades. Robots aren’t just replacing factory workers, but jobs in middle management where you just move numbers around to ad sales jobs to even doctors that read X-rays.



On Business Rockstars Minute, Ken Rutkowski interviews Jay Samit, author of “Disrupt You” about how robots are disrupting everything.

The third idea is being innovative enough to anticipate a need a customer has and fill it before you even know you have the need. The Chinese version of Amazon is already delivering products to people’s home with drones.

When it comes to creating an exceptional customer experience listening is not enough. Dr. Mark Goulston’s book “Just Listen” is a must read on how to not only listen to others, but to your own internal intuition.

Your customers will only tell you what they think they need, but how you meet their unexpressed needs makes all the difference. For example, Lexus designed their car’s stereo system to be connected to your smart phone so when the phone rings your volume is turned down so you can hear the phone ring. A nice, unexpected luxury that you were not even aware you would enjoy having. Banana Republic put in their luxury flagship stores a place where shoppers can recharge their phones while they shop as a nice unexpected perk. Turns out sales went up as people spent more time shopping as they waited for their phones to fully charge.

So the next time you are asked to do any mundane task such as changing a light bulb, see if you can come up with innovative solutions to solve that problem. Who knows, you might even have your own “light bulb” moment.

John Livesay is The Pitch Whisperer, who is a keynote speaker to luxury brands and shares lessons learned from his award winning career at Conde Nast. His keynote talks teach luxury brands how to be irresistible so they can instill in their customers the “Gotta Have It” feeling. When that happens the brands creates loyalty and a story that gets the crucial word of mouth in high gear across social media.

To Book John for Your Next Event: Email bookjohn@thespeakersgroup.com Or call The Speakers Group at 615-526-6600

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

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