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What are the most incredibly stupid ideas that have been successful?

Seems like the billion dollar businesses never seem that obvious at the beginning during the early days... Look forward to the insights in this thread.

19 Replies

Irwin Stein
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0
Irwin Stein Advisor
Very experienced (40 years) corporate,securities and real estate attorney.
I doubt that you are old enough to remember pet rocks.
Ema Chuku
2
0
Ema Chuku Entrepreneur
Designer. Product Developer. Founder @ NuPad
There's a reason it's worth billions. Meaning it was never stupid in the first place.

Perhaps you could rephrase your wording to "incredible non-sense" business.

Safe to say Pokemon could fall in that category.



Marv Steigman
1
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Marv Steigman Entrepreneur
Chief Marketing Officer
As Ema Said, they clearly weren't stupid ideas. just ad the word 'seemingly." So it should read...

What are the most seemingly incredibly stupid ideas that have been successful?


At the time I would have thought Twitter was a stupid idea. Communicate in 140 characters or less. Really?

Another interesting, and perhaps more useful exercise, take on this might be, 'What new startups today seem like stupid ideas?" and then we can revisit this in 1 or 2 years.
Patrick Colmenar
0
1
Patrick Colmenar Entrepreneur
Development Manager at LDProducts
AirBnb. I had similar idea - swap houses or rent out my house for a week. Create an exchange a la eBay. But trusting your home to strangers is a big mental hurdle to climb. I couldn't see it. Kudos to Brian Chesky and company for working out the logistics.
Christoph Ranaweera
1
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Christoph Ranaweera Entrepreneur • Advisor
Product Lead
I think this always depends on the users perspective. You can say facebook is a stupid idea coz it just connects people for useless conversations on the other hand they made people connect in some cases for useful things and made a great Monetization around it mainly with ads.
someone else would say it was a great idea from the beginning.
Think of snapchat, Instagram, Airbnb, Uber, Amazon and think of the times when they started and why the hell should they be successful?

And they were mostly not even the first movers in a market. So being successful is more than a stupid or non stupid idea but that you do it in the right way.

So potentially you could even say "if you do it right you can make any irrational or crazy or insane Idea a huge success". But this comment is daring.
Ema Chuku
2
1
Ema Chuku Entrepreneur
Designer. Product Developer. Founder @ NuPad
@Patrick, there wasn't anything new or magical about the Airbnb idea. Other than taking a line and draw between, Craiglist and CouchSurfing. At the end it was all media hype and timing.

So there's wasn't any reason to feel uneasy it wasn't going to work. It's been working since the 17th century.


Patrick Colmenar
0
0
Patrick Colmenar Entrepreneur
Development Manager at LDProducts
@Ema Interesting, never heard of CouchSurfing before. Looks like they have decent traction but never achieved the hyper growth of Airbnb. I guess - Y Combinator, Ashton Kutcher and better brand name - matter.
David Austin
0
0
David Austin Entrepreneur
Entrepreneur
Here's the problem: nobody knows what a good idea is. A good idea is what the market wants. It's not necessarily what's cool. It's not necessarily what's high-tech. It's not even necessarily something that is good or moral or right or beneficial to people or society.

It's what the market wants. Tons of people in the startup scene say idea isn't important and use the pet rock (or some other presumably stupid idea) as proof. The thing is: those aren't bad ideas. They're good ideas because it's what the market wants.
Irwin Stein
2
0
Irwin Stein Advisor
Very experienced (40 years) corporate,securities and real estate attorney.
Mr. Austin: Credit where it is due, the market did not want a pet rock, very good marketing people packaged and sold it. Some one once said "never underestimate the American consumer". There are a lot of moving pieces in any business. A lot of people on FD have very good ideas but no marketing budget or intend to rely on social media because it is cheap.
David Austin
0
0
David Austin Entrepreneur
Entrepreneur
Fair enough, Mr Stein ... And it was a good idea. Pet poo ... probably not a good idea, but only because there are pretty reliable indicators that the market wouldn't want it.
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