Bruno Pešec: “You say that there is no shortage of good ideas out there”

The first fear they need to overcome is the fear of being ridiculed. By bringing their idea out, you risk someone saying “Well, that’s ridiculous! Why would anyone want that?” or, “That sounds so trivial. Why are we even talking about it?” or, “What is this — it’s so out of this world!” This fear of ridicule […]

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The first fear they need to overcome is the fear of being ridiculed. By bringing their idea out, you risk someone saying “Well, that’s ridiculous! Why would anyone want that?” or, “That sounds so trivial. Why are we even talking about it?” or, “What is this — it’s so out of this world!” This fear of ridicule must be overcome. It doesn’t matter what random people on the street say. The only people who matter are those whom this idea is intended for (e.g. your potential customers). Always remember that.

As a part of our series called “How To Go From Idea To Store Shelf”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Bruno Pešec.

Bruno Pešec helps business leaders innovate profitably, leveraging his broad experience from different industries — including defence, manufacturing, education, and financial services.

He is an active member in the global startup community, and has co-founded Norwegian Lean Startup Circle and Founder Institute Norway.

Bruno is co-creator of Playing Lean, an award winning board game for teaching entrepreneurship and innovation.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?

My name is Bruno Pešec and I help business leaders innovate profitably. I have over a decade of experience succeeding and failing with inventing and innovating in different industries like defense, manufacturing, entertainment, education and financial services.

I was always one of those fortunate ones that knew what he wanted ever since I was a child. As a kid, I used to play a lot with robots and was thinking to myself “How did they come to be? How could I make one?” Thinking in systems has followed me throughout my life.

While studying industrial engineering I got really fascinated with the interaction of us as human beings and different systems that surround us. This fascination is something that I have taken to the world of invention and innovation, and that knowledge is something I’ll be happy to share with you today.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

For the topic at hand, the quote I feel is most pertinent would be the “Innovators innovate. Customers validate.” It’s a quote from Nathan Furr and Jeff Dyer from their book, The Innovator’s Method. It’s a great book, well worth your time.

The key message in that quote is something that every innovator should have stamped on their palm so they can take a look at it every few hours. The main message is that it’s our job as innovators to create value for others, but it is the customers, the recipients of those inventions and innovations, who actually confirm or validate that value. It is not their job to innovate for you. When you think about it it sounds subtle, but it’s a very important difference.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

The books that had a lot of impact on me while I was studying to become an engineer was the Toyota Production System book by Taiichi Ohno. The reason it had such significant impact on me was because it was fascinating to read how a large company managed to reinvent itself in post-WWII conditions. In essence, Toyota went from a company that was making looms and that was not known for quality, to the most valuable automobile producer in the world. Their path from there to where they are now was long and difficult. Nowadays they are considered to be one of the paragons of quality, of inventiveness, of profitability, and continue to reinvent themselves. But that wasn’t always the case.

It’s easy to see their position and think that it was just a few genius people who snapped their fingers, and magically they became the best through their sheer willpower. That couldn’t be further from the truth. It was a decades-long journey that still continues to this day. That is why these books had such impact on me, setting me off on a journey of pondering “How can we really innovate better?”

It’s an infinite journey. And that’s scary to some, but it’s inspiring to others like me.

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. There is no shortage of good ideas out there. Many people have good ideas all the time. But people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. How can a potential inventor overcome this challenge?

You say that there is no shortage of good ideas out there. But I ask, “What is a good idea?”

To start answering that, I’d like to draw your attention to what’s the difference between a thought and an idea. A “thought” is something unfinished. It’s very difficult to put it out there. And when I say “Out there,” I am not talking about bringing it to life, but about communicating it. An “idea,” in contrast, is communicable. You should be able to write it, draw it, and tell the story of that idea to another person. In order to have an idea, you must be able to answer two basic questions:

  1. Who is it for?
  2. What does it do?

Sounds trivial, but it’s an easy way to weed out what the difference is between a thought and an idea.

Before starting and actually working on an idea, the innovator or inventor has to overcome three fears.

The first fear they need to overcome is the fear of being ridiculed. By bringing their idea out, you risk someone saying “Well, that’s ridiculous! Why would anyone want that?” or, “That sounds so trivial. Why are we even talking about it?” or, “What is this — it’s so out of this world!” This fear of ridicule must be overcome. It doesn’t matter what random people on the street say. The only people who matter are those whom this idea is intended for (e.g. your potential customers). Always remember that.

The second fear is the fear of failure. And this is really common. When we look at the statistics, there are an overwhelming number of ideas, new ventures, products, and services that fail in the market. There are two reasons why they fail. One reason that is most commonly cited is that they fail because they are building something nobody wants. And that goes back to the point I made just moments ago, about the difference between an idea and a thought. If you can’t answer, “Who is this idea for?” you are in a bad spot. That’s one reason why ideas fail.

The second reason ideas fail are internal capabilities. The person who had the idea didn’t actually have the skills, the capacity or the abilities to actually develop that idea, to test that idea, to bring that idea to market, execute it, etc. So this invention process doesn’t begin and end with an idea. The idea is just the beginning of formulating something bigger. But before that idea comes to life, there is a lifetime of that person’s creativity and experience in their own environment that triggers a certain idea.

And then, fear number three is overcoming the fear of success. I have been coaching more than a thousand start-up founders and business owners over the last ten years. And what I consistently notice is that there’s a group of innovators and business owners that have an idea, have put time and effort in developing it, and have evidence of demand from customers, and yet they stumble when they come to the finish line. They’re afraid to cross it. They’re afraid to bring their product finally to the world and see what happens. They start wondering if they were maybe just misled by those few people that gave positive feedback on their idea. And the fear paralyzes them.

The reason I say this is “fear of success” and not “fear of failure” is because, if you’re successful with your idea, that means that you will suddenly have a responsibility to bring it to the wider audience of people. And that is not something that everybody feels comfortable with.

These three fears are something that you need to face and work at, and be at peace with yourself: fear of ridicule, fear of failure, and fear of success.

Often when people think of a new idea, they dismiss it saying someone else must have thought of it before. How would you recommend that someone go about researching whether or not their idea has already been created?

The first thing to get out of our way is that what matters the most is developing and executing on the idea. Just having an idea by itself isn’t that valuable. If you think you have a genius idea that you’ll sell to someone else, then I have bad news for you — you probably won’t get rich doing that. An idea is much more than just a product or service. It should include, in addition to products and services:

  • How are you going to make them?
  • How are you going to deliver them?
  • How are you going to talk about them?
  • How are you going to earn from them?
  • What are going to be the key cost drivers?

And many other questions. You can say that an idea is the whole business around it.

Another thing to think about is that an idea doesn’t have to be novel or “unheard of” to provide value. It is quite common to seek inspiration around the globe, get inspired and then bring that idea to your environment. For example, a Norwegian scale-up Otovo is enabling customers to save money and the environment by using their own rooftops. The founders were inspired by various ideas and technologies across the globe, but did not simply copy them. Solar panel technology is hardly novel, and yet they managed to create an innovative idea by combining different technologies with a recurring revenue model and modern customer relationships.

Of course, it’s a good thing to check what exists out there. Using online search platforms is step number one. Step number two; go to your local libraries and do library research. Ask for help if it’s necessary. So for these two, the best are National Libraries and University Libraries. Just ask a librarian for help. Say you have an idea, and you would like to check if there is any patent database or anything similar.

The third is using your National Patents Office. Depending on your country, you might have contact forms, contact details, and there might be an office you can visit. Always start with something that’s self-service, i.e. searching a national patent database. It’s a bit difficult, because they’re usually not up-to-date search engines, but it’s better than nothing.

Remember, what’s most important is that your idea, your invention, provides value to whomever you’re making it for. If you’re good with that, then it makes sense to spend time on other questions.

For the benefit of our readers, can you outline the steps that one should go through, from when one thinks of the idea, until it finally lands on the store shelves? In particular we’d love to hear about how to file a patent, how to source a good manufacturer, and how to find a retailer to distribute it.

Okay, I’ll walk you through the steps. But before we start with the steps, the most important thing, and I have to repeat this again, is to make sure you have an actual idea before you start. When I say, “Make sure you have an idea,” what I’m thinking is, you should be able to write it down and answer the following questions:

  • Who is it for?
  • What does it do for or to them?
  • How do they feel about it?
  • How do they hear about it?
  • Where do they find it?
  • How do they get it?
  • What is it?

“It” refers to your idea, invention, etc. If you cannot answer these questions, you don’t have an idea. If you can answer them, congratulations. You have thought about it enough to be able to put it down. Now you are ready to begin your innovator’s journey. Consider the answers you have to be assumptions. This is what you think the reality is. And remember that. This is what you think the reality is.

Remember the quote I shared earlier? “Innovators innovate. Customers validate.” You did the first step, and this is innovating. Now you need to figure out, with your customers, how true your statements are. I will walk you through the stages or the steps needed to actually investigate, validate and implement your idea. You asked these questions: how do you source a good manufacturer? How do you find a retailer? How do you file a patent? I’d argue that is jumping too far. If you start with those questions, you have potentially confused your assumptions for facts.

And that is dangerous because you’re risking spending time, money, energy, effort into something nobody wants. And remember when we were talking, just moments ago — building something nobody wants is one of the main reasons why ideas, products, services, startups, new ventures, fail. The model I like to use is the conventional product life cycle, which has four stages:

  1. Market development
  2. Market growth
  3. Market maturity
  4. Market decline

If you start by asking the questions, “How to file a patent?” or “How to source a manufacturer?” “How to find a retailer?”, you’re jumping from the first stage — market development — directly into the second stage — market growth. You’re looking suddenly at “How can I manufacture this faster? How can I distribute this easier? How can I protect my intellectual property?” But you don’t even know if this is worth manufacturing. Is this intellectual property worth protecting? Should this even be with retailers, or should this be distributed differently? You don’t have trustworthy answers to these questions.

That’s why I invite you to spend time in the first stage — -market development. Think about it this way — by spending some quality time in that stage, you’re saving yourself potentially decades of grief. Decades of grief! Or to put it another way, imagine this: you can spend three months to find out if you should spend the next five years building your dream or bringing your invention to life. Because bringing something to life, although it’s made sexy and attractive and easy looking by all the silicon-valley startups and shows coming out, and people talking about the entrepreneur life, it’s still a difficult journey. The life of innovators is tough and challenging. It is not something that should be lightly embarked upon. So you need to understand that spending quality time at the beginning of the process to answer key questions and to really find out what are the success criteria, will save you a lot of grief and a lot of trouble down the line.

I’m in favour of decomposing the market development stage into more granular, smaller stages that can help you. That will help you structure and focus your work moving forward. What I suggest is to start with the market exploration.

The first two questions that you need to answer for your idea, invention or innovation are: is there a demand for the idea we have, and if not, what is the evidence that there might be a demand? You’re always better served or in a better position if your idea is about an existing demand, or about a gap in the demand, because then you don’t have the cost or the trouble of building awareness around the idea or the problem or the need that you’ll be meeting.

Now, if that’s not the case, then you want to gather some evidence that it’s still worth your time. What you’re looking at is gathering the evidence that there might be demand for what you are talking about. And here, you will be looking at upcoming regulation changes, changes in society, and future trends. Since everything about the future is an assumption, you will end up with an indication or a signal of a potential future demand. That’s weaker evidence than existing demand, but is better than a wishful shot in the dark.

After you have completed the market exploration step, and you can say, “Okay, there is demand for this,” the next set of questions is focused on market validation. What you want to find out is, “Can we meet the demand and get the customer to act? Can we reach the numbers that will make sense to us? How should the bare bones of our product or service look?” The trick here is answering these questions without making or producing the final result. What you’re really saying is, “Okay, there is demand, and we understand what the demand is, and now we want to see if these people, from whom we believe there will be demand, will react to my invention. How will they react to my invention if I talk about my invention? If I tell them stories about my invention? If I can show them pictures or my invention? If I can show them a video? If I can walk them through, can I get them to act? Can I really, really get them to act?”

And when I say, “Can I get them to act?” it doesn’t mean that they tap me on the back and say, “Oh, Bruno, this is a really really cool idea!” No. I’m talking about signing letters of intent, potentially even contracts, selling something, getting an agreement. That’s what I’m talking about. Can this get them to act in such a way when the solution doesn’t even exist? “Bruno, I want this right now and I’m giving you money right now. Bring it to me as fast as possible!” is great to hear, as long as they are willing to part with something right there and then.

Then you move to the next stage which I call market audition. Now, the questions you need to answer are, “Can we take to the market the smallest imaginable solution that gets customers to act?” And then, “Can we pass the venerable product-market fit test?”

In the previous two stages you want to get customers to act without you creating anything. Of course this doesn’t literally mean creating nothing, because you’ll need to create the collateral and marketing materials and storyboards, etc. What I’m saying is that in this stage you get customers to act with your stories. Now you want to say, “Okay, what does it take to make the smallest thing?”

Let’s say that you have a big idea. And as I said before, the idea is not just the product and service; the idea is the whole business around it. Now you need to start asking questions like: “We have a conceptual solution, we got the customers to move, and now we need to make the first version of our offering. What are the basic features that we should include in the first version? What are the smallest things that provide the customers what they really, really care about?”

And these questions might sound either very easy, or very difficult. Because you might have a feeling that, “Well, they need everything. They need everything for it to be valuable.” Well yes, but no. And that is why you went through the stages of market exploration and market validation. Because by the end of those two stages, you should have a clear list of what they need today versus what they would appreciate tomorrow. Again, remember, “Innovators innovate. Customers validate.”

You will have your idea as a whole and your customers will then react to different parts of it. It’s your job to realize which parts they react most to, and then make sure that you make those parts first and move on. So think about incremental development. And when you hear about incremental development, it’s not just for software development. It truly is for everybody.

The product market fit test is something to do after you have been in market for some time. The product market fit test has been invented by Sean Ellis, and it asks a simple question. “How would you feel if you could no longer use the product?” If 40% — or more — answer they’d be very disappointed for your product to disappear, then that is a good sign.

Finally, when you go through these three steps: market exploration, market validation, market audition, then you can start addressing the questions of how to file a patent, how to source manufacturing, how to find a retailer. Of course, you should think about these questions earlier, but you should not address them in earnest until you have actually validated that there is a market and audited if this is a market worth your time. Because then it makes sense to start investing in growth. Before that point, before you actually audited the market, it’s okay to do things that don’t scale. It’s okay to use a local manufacturer to produce your prototype. It’s okay to have a local retailer to present your product.

Let’s imagine that a reader reading this interview has an idea for a product that they would like to invent. What are the first few steps that you would recommend that they take?

I have already outlined the steps, and now I want to stress the following points:

Start by writing your idea down. Try to answer the questions I outlined before. If you struggle with any of the question, then spend more time thinking and researching. You can search online, read books, read trade magazines, speak with people. Make sure to do research that’s relevant to the idea. Not just something random.

Once you have a solid understanding of who your idea is for, try to reach out to five or ten people that fit your description of potential customers. You want to speak with them to learn more about them and their context, not sell them the idea.

If your idea is about providing a better drill to dentists, then your step number one is not designing your new drill, patenting it, sourcing, manufacturing, and then trying to find dentists to buy it. Your step number one, after you have written down your idea, is figuring out: How do dentists use drills? What are their frustrations with the drills they use? What do they enjoy about the drills they use? What criteria do they look at? What does the buying process look like? Is the dentist doing the buying, or is it some procurement doing the buying, or is it the head of the office doing the buying? Your job is to find out these things first, not to come in and sell them the “drill of their life!”

Think about it. Write it down. Answer the questions. Once you have these answers, try to reach out to your customers and find out: What does their work look like? What do they do? What do they struggle with? What do they enjoy? When they are thinking about specific things, how do they make a buying decision? What are they looking at? What criteria are they thinking about? When you find all of that out, then ask them, “Listen, I’m working on an idea to address these issues. Would you mind if I reach out to you once I have a more tangible solution? And then I would love to hear your feedback.”

Perfect. That’s it. That’s everything you need to do, starting out. If you cannot find people to reach out to, or you struggle immensely with getting people to respond to you or to meet with you and discuss this issue, then you need to stop and you need to re-think. Because one of these two things is happening. One, there is no demand. And two, you might have to invest in your invention or innovation skills. Perhaps your idea is not as bad, but you struggle a lot in communicating it or describing it or developing it. Nowadays, there are plenty of free resources available. So you can look at your national resources, like Small Business Bureau, you can look at your local startup accelerators, entrepreneurial programs at a local university, or go to your library and check out the materials and books on entrepreneurship, startups, innovation, product development. There are plenty of resources. Think about spending some time to improve your skills in that area.

What are your thoughts about bootstrapping vs looking for venture capital? What is the best way to decide if you should do either one?

I’m personally in favour of bootstrapping, especially in the beginning. The reality at the end of the day is, if your idea hits a sweet spot, you will need other people’s money to grow it, finance it, and really take it out there in some meaningful scale. When talking about VC (venture capital) money, I like to say that there are two types of it.

One is smart money and another one is exit money.

The difference is, that if you go for VC funding that comes together with smarts, brains, skills, people that have actually taken ideas to market, people that have developed businesses that lead to hundreds of millions in valuation, in most cases, they have something smart to share with you. These people can serve as formal and informal advisors, which is invaluable. That’s a good type of funding to get.

But, if you get VC funding that comes primarily with exit thinking and mindset, that’s not always a good thing. Then they’re interested in optimizing their investment, and they’re interested in exiting as soon as possible. They invested because they planned to earn money on you. And they will squeeze for that. So if you decide to go for VC funding, I would definitely suggest that you look for smart money. Anything else, if it’s premature, might actually hinder your chances of success.

If you go back to the stages I’ve been talking about, you should be able to do market development without external funding in forms of VC or private equity. When you start working on market growth, and if you have hit a gold mine, then it makes sense to take some VC money that comes with smarts. That is what my suggestion would be.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

Good question. I need to reflect a little bit on it. So in no particular order, one thing that comes to my mind is a lesson that there is more than one speed. And that is sometimes easy to forget, for us that are more on the inventor’s side, because we are usually quite intense. And perhaps we see what others don’t yet see, and it’s easy to become frustrated and think, “Come on, how come you didn’t see that? It’s obvious! This thing is coming! That’s why we need to work on it!” But it’s not obvious. Just because something makes a lot of sense in our head, doesn’t guarantee that it makes a lot of sense to others. And that’s something that everybody who is an inventor has to be aware of and has to work on. People operate at different speeds. Some are more intense and they are willing to crank out things at a neck-breaking pace. Some are more relaxed. It takes them more time. They need to think more before they take action. They need to understand it from different angles. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Another thing that comes to mind is that sometimes you do everything right, and you still fail. And that’s especially true in the world of innovations and inventions. Let’s say you follow the steps that we discussed and you put down everything. You write it. You test it with your potential customers. Everything seems positive, and you feel like this is a green light; this is a go! And you put your heart and your soul into it, you spend maybe six to twelve months, you have your big launch, and it’s crickets. And then you wonder, “What did we do bad? Didn’t we do all the right steps? Didn’t we try to minimize our risk? We iterated. We didn’t do a big bang. What went wrong?” Well, maybe nothing went wrong. Maybe everybody was honest. But sometimes, it just doesn’t mean this will come to a big reception and that this will be for everybody. And that’s okay. Then you take your lessons and you move on. That’s it. You just take it as a learning experience.

Following up on that one, the third lesson would be, it doesn’t matter how good it is, if no one believes you. Once I worked on a project where we created a product so good that it was three times better than the market leader’s product. It was, in fact, so good that no one in the market believed us. So we had to show the product to everybody. It had to go on tours, so people would see for themselves that it’s actually real. Such a performance is in fact possible. Unfortunately, by the end of these tours, our competitors caught up with the changes, and came up with their own products of similar performance. This is something that has taught me that “Build it and they will come” is not really true unless you have a good story to follow up with what you’re building.

Related to the second point, the lesson of “What people say and what people do isn’t always congruent,” comes to mind. We, humans, are quite aspirational. If someone asks me, “Would you like to eat healthier? Would you like to train more? Would you like to be wealthier?” Frankly, why would I answer ‘’No’’ to any of these questions? But just because I say I would want to do that doesn’t mean that I’m necessarily doing that. If I would answer yes to this, and you ask me, “Okay, what are you actually eating? How are you eating? How much meat are you eating? How much salt are you eating?” I would have to answer, “I put salt in almost every one of my meals.” Well, but didn’t you say that you would want to live healthier? “Yes, I did.” It’s an important lesson, to always remind ourselves that we aspire to do a lot of things, but it doesn’t mean that we actually take action. Again, that goes to the quote I shared. “Innovators innovate. Customers validate.” That’s why we say that it’s the innovators job to innovate, and then get customers to act. Because if you try to get customers to innovate then we’ll get a bunch of aspirations. And a bunch of aspirations doesn’t get people to act.

And, a final point, is taking care of oneself. It’s easy to get lost in yourself. It’s easy to get lost in your idea. It’s easy to get carried away. It’s easy to start pouring heart and soul into something, and then that spirals into pouring eighteen to twenty hours a day for days that turns into weeks and that impacts your relationships with your loved ones. Even if you don’t notice it, even if you feel like everything is all right, such habits will take toll on your health. The point here is that it’s important for us, who are passionate about our ideas, that we manage to remember that we must take care of ourselves. We must have support systems like friends and family; others on a similar journey; pets; etc. If you don’t care for yourself, it will be very difficult to bring any idea you have in your head to life, because this is an intense journey.

Ok. We are nearly done. Here are our final questions. How have you used your success to make the world a better place?

I’ve been fortunate in life to meet success with the endeavours I have undertaken. The failures weren’t failures that have broken my spirit and body; some were expensive learnings, expensive classes and lessons, but I took them to heart and I used them to change things for the better. I’m trying to pay back in different ways. Some causes I donate money to. Other causes I donate my expertise to. Every year I serve as a trusted advisor to select promising founders and business owners I believe are working on some important global issues. I dedicate my time to help them bring their idea to life; to kind of transform what they have and build the business around it that has a positive impact on the world.

For example, one such promising venture I’m working with this year is B4 Investigate, who are working on eradicating fraud globally by not focusing only on the experts, the fraud detectives and fraud data scientists, but also on us regular folk to empower and educate us to detect and respond to fraud.

In addition to select founders, I also volunteer and spend time as expert contributor at different accelerators and incubators. For example, this year I participated in a number of hack the crisis events, which were aimed at coming up with potential solutions to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, e.g. helping suffering businesses, helping medical professionals, and an array of different topics. Every year I strive to pay back and share my success with others.

You are an inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Innovation is one of the most human activities. It’s not something that suddenly came to life in the 20th or 21st century, although there has been a lot of focus on it. Innovation and inventiveness is something that made us as a race, as mankind, as humans, so successful and so prosperous as we are today. Yes, there are some things that could be better, and that should be better. There are a lot of things that are better than they were. And that is something to remember. That this inventiveness and innovativeness is something that’s a human trait.

Why am I saying that? Well because, what’s also human is ego, pride, and arrogance. And everything else that comes with it. People feel entitled or they believe their way is the only correct way. For example, today, I shared many tips, many tricks, lots of advice, steps, how you can bring your idea to life. And I know they work. And people I work with, they know they work.

But that’s not the only way. There are many different ways. There are many professionals that have shared their own path. There are many more who haven’t shared their path. Just because they’re not following what I’m saying or what these other experts are saying doesn’t make them wrong, it just makes them different. But it doesn’t matter, if the result is change for the better.

What I would like to see more of is different approaches to innovation moving towards confluence; where people start bringing together different approaches, different ways to think, and start creating something new, magical and wonderful out of that. So that we actually, instead of having competing, warring approaches; we move away from that, and come closer to collaboration and cooperation and finding out, “Okay, how can we come up with innovation processes that are even better? That are even more pertinent? That are even more applicable? That can be shared? That we all have a common understanding? And of course, because of the language and the cultures and the histories, it’s impossible to have a perfect understanding of each other, but there is no reason to try to start up unnecessary differences just for the sake of marketing purposes.

That would be my wish: that innovation and invention professionals collaborate a bit more for the benefit of humanity.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

You know what? Since we are talking again about innovation, entrepreneurship, ideation, inventiveness, I would really love to share a meal with Bill Gates. Why him? Primarily for the reason that he has made a big entrepreneurial success, and then has retired and moved into philanthropy. He moved from entrepreneurial success to sharing his success with others and while doing that, he doesn’t fit the regular narrative of a crazy inventor or brash hustling entrepreneur. He seems like the complete opposite: quiet, gentle, intelligent, aware, and observant. In a way he seems to be an antithesis to what we would expect the crazy investor or a savvy entrepreneur to look like. And that’s why I would really love to share a meal with Bill Gates.

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

Thank you for asking great questions. I wish everybody reading this great success at anything they take on. I wish them to be able to formulate their ideas, to test them and to bring them to life if they find merit in a market and with their potential customers. To whomever is reading this, I just want to remind you that the best way to start is to write it down and then test it with those that you believe this is for. Good luck.

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