Vibram vice president of product design Peter Von Conta met resistance during every step of the process while launching the FiveFingers running shoe, a product that nearly everyone in the shoe business thought was destined for failure. As the critiques got louder, Vibram dug in its heels and launched one of the most successful products ever created in its 75-year history.
"Nobody can do it all and some tasks are best left to the expertise of our more qualified allies. But sometimes it’s tough to recognize the difference between throwing in the towel and calling for backup. Sometimes, our egos just need a reminder that it’s okay to ask for help."
The Takeaway: Don’t let critics destroy a great idea.
The three women behind the THINX, a fashionable underwear line designed for a woman’s menstrual cycle, wanted to launch an untested idea in a field dominated by corporate giants like Hanes, Fruit of the Loom, and Victoria’s Secret.
After a few years of perseverance and research, THINX products are beginning to hit store shelves, and early sales have already eclipsed this year’s projections.
The Doe Fund was nearly crippled by Mayor Giuliani. So George McDonald pushed into a fresh part of the city and thrived.
The Takeaway: Instead of being deterred by a setback, be dogged.
We can all agree that the conference room is probably not where your best ideas are born. Which is why taking a run is far from a waste of time.
The Takeaway: Often, the most productive meetings take place outside the office.
Passion Projects Done Right: Rainn Wilson Ponders The Runaway Success of SoulPancake
The Office’s Rainn Wilson wanted to create a personality-packed place to intelligently debate life’s big questions. SoulPancake-both a passion project and a brand with a higher purpose-does both.
Wilson, whom you probably know from his role as “crazy dork” Dwight Schrute on The Office, decided to make a place for people who want to debate (intelligently) about life’s Big Questions.
It’s also extremely popular, drawing more than a million views a month. There’s a best-selling book with glowing Amazon reviews. They’ve got SoulPancake meetups, a dedicated YouTube channel, and a deal with Oprah.
“You need to go a little deeper than “How can we make money” because there’s 68,000 people out there who are saying ‘how can we make money on the Internet,’” Wilson robot-voices.
“If you can follow your passion and fill a need then you will eventually make money and you’ll be successful, but more importantly, you’ll be fulfilled.”
You can read the full story here.
[Image: Flickr user John Lambert Pearson]
From our series The TakeAway:
CEO Aaron Shapiro of Huge on why it is important to maintain the underdog spirit, even when you’re on top.
“At one level, [Home] is just the next mobile version of Facebook. At a deeper level, I think this can start to be a change in the relationship that we have with how we use computing devices." -Mark Zuckerberg at the Facebook Home announcement address.”
Reading Between The Lines Of Mark Zuckerberg’s Vision Statement
Home, Facebook’s new Android app-slash-skin, is worth investigating. It runs along a new axis of user experience, un-cordons the app, and shows how Facebook is becoming less of a product and more of a service.
But beyond being immersive, low-friction, and whatever other buzzword descriptors you’d like to attach to it, Home is a recognition a subtle and profound paradigm shift.
See our Takeaways from his address here.
From our video series The Takeaway:
"Ahalife founder Shauna Mei had a dream job at Goldman Sachs when entrepreneurial fever took hold—but she didn’t immediately act on it. Here’s how to recognize the right time."
The maker of Happier faces her fair share of skepticism. Her technique, don’t give up, get better.
From our section THE TAKEAWAY:
How Jack Dorsey’s Lifelong Obsessions Became World Changing Companies
Jack Dorsey wasn’t your average kid in St. Louis. He had a speech impediment. He loved maps. He studied trains. He listened to the emergency dispatch center. And he noticed something interesting: Everybody was talking with short bursts of sound.
"They’re always talking about where they’re going, what they’re doing, and where they currently are," Dorsey recently told Lara Logan on 60 Minutes, “and that’s where the idea for Twitter came.”
The Takeaway: The dots will connect. Like Dorsey’s fascinations brought him from St. Louis to New York to Silicon Valley, entrepreneurial energy has a way of taking you into unexpected—and fitting—places.
A lesson in branding from Kings County Distillery, part of our new series The Takeaway.
Check out The Impossible Project, a group working against all odds to reinvent instant film for Polaroid.