|Posted on November 16, 2011 at 11:30 AM|
Will: Yeah, but this girl is like, you know, beautiful. She's smart. She's funny. She's different from most of the other girls I've been with.
Sean: So, call her up, Romeo.
Will: Why? So I can realize she's not that smart, that she's f***in' boring? Y'know--I mean...this girl is like f***in' perfect right now, I don't wanna ruin that.
Sean: Maybe you're perfect right now. Maybe you don't want to ruin that.
--Good Will Hunting
A brilliant idea is kind of like that. It is definitely its best and most special and most *perfect* at its inception. When it comes on like a mental bright light flash of, “Hey...Wow!” At that moment, it’s perfect.
Because that’s the moment before you’ve shared the idea with anyone. Before you’ve had too much time to really pick it apart. And before you’ve spent hours and hours going over it or been told that it can’t work.
At that moment, the idea is just…perfect. Where it rolls around in the gentle, cozy confines of your brain, leaving warm gooey sunshine on everything that it touches.
I had that moment the other day and am still in that idea crush/honeymoon phase where thinking about it gets me all warm and fuzzy. And I’m gonna share it with you.
But first, some backstory…
Due to a most cruel combination of tightwadedness and “champagne dreams,” I often find myself wanting things that I can’t really afford. I’m not talking about Ferrari-type things (but, I mean, seriously, I would LOVE a Ferrari. But then tighwadedness kicks in and I think, “Hmmm. Even if someone GAVE me a Ferrari, I probably couldn’t even afford the insurance and the maintenance on it, and a new set of tires on that thing has got to cost like $2000 and I’d totally NEVER get let off if I got pulled over…” meaning that even in my fantasy world, I cannot allow myself to truly enjoy and embrace the dream of Ferrari ownership), but more typical, everyday kinds of things. Like a better TV and sound system and stuff like that. Well, that’s not totally honest either. Very often the things that I want I totally CAN afford, but just don’t want to pay for. Like an iPhone4S. Sure, I COULD pay for the phone and the probably $100 month in usage fees, but, well, tightwad. See? It’s a vicious cycle.
Nowadays, I’m in kind of a unique situation. As a published writer and reviewer for two highly regarded publications, if I want something from the tech world I can usually call up and get some kind of industry accommodation on it or request a long-term review sample. (Or just ask Darryl Wilkinson if he minds parting with one of the many that he probably already has laying around his barn. His cast-offs would probably win the CEDIA Best Of awards for years running.) And if I can’t find a manufacturer to play ball, then I can usually buy it as a dealer at wholesale. My days of buying electronics at retail are – hopefully – long behind me.
But before I had this opportunity, I would actually try and reverse engineer an improved buying opportunity. If you are in high school and you want to trick out your car stereo, but you don’t want to spend a lot of money to do it, what do you do? You get a job at a place that sells car stereo stuff. So that’s what I did. If you like golf and you want to play a lot of awesome courses for free, what do you do? You become a golf pro. So that’s what I did.
It’s still the same, but now it is more with experiences. Think of the goal – want to get onto an aircraft carrier – then reverse engineer the way to make it happen – pitch the Navy a story idea involving something-something aircraft carriers.
This is my secret. And I don’t know why the hell I’m sharing it with you.
So, anyhow, when we were on the Disney cruise a few weeks ago, we started talking about the on board entertainment and how cool it would be to do that; cruising around for free, do a couple of shows, and then go off to some other gig. Fun right?
Now my family – particularly my parents and my brother – are by far the greatest cheerleaders of my professional accomplishments. They have this unrealistically high opinion of my worth to the world of tech and journalism. My mom collects my published articles, my dad is convinced that any company should be *honored* to have me write about their products and my brother can’t understand why I just can’t call up Apple and ask for a sample of some new secret prototype they are working on or maybe why I wasn’t there with Steve at the very end. (I try and paint a more realistic vision of my ball-bearing status in the scheme of things but, like family who love and support you are apt to do, they’ll hear none of it. “Son, you’re just being modest!” No, dad. Thanks, but I’m really just being *honest*.)
So, it was through this filter that I heard my dad proclaim that the Disney Cruise Line would be darned lucky to have me come and do classes for them. That I should do a class on blogging. Where I could set up a station and teach people to blog and set up a Web page and… Well, dammit, he didn’t know all the details exactly. My dad’s an idea man, and his idea was that I should be doing something-something on blogging where I'd put on a couple of classes and then Disney would put me and my family up in a cabin and let us sail for free!
Of course, I immediately scoffed at this idea, telling my dad all of the reasons why his suggestion was ridiculous and why it would never work. That I would need to have like thousands of followers and really don’t know a lot of about Web design and HTML and that no one would want to sit through a class on learning to blog and that in the blogging world, I am not even the crumb-sized bits left behind from the cookies gathered at sites like Engadget, Gizmodo and CNet.
So I forgot about it.
But really, I didn’t.
Because the Disney cruise was really pretty darn awesome. And what would be MORE cool than being able to go back as a hired entertainer to have your trip paid for in exchange for conducting a few classes?
But just not classes on blogging.
Classes on tech.
And that’s when we arrive at the moment of The Idea.
At first it was a little mental tingle. A, “Hey, you know what actually might work…” I was driving when the idea sprang to mind. And as I sat there staring ahead, I batted it around between neurons and synapses. And each time it gathered a little more weight and reality. It became a little more tangible and a little more possible. And then I started *really* thinking about it. How could I make this happen? And the more I thought about it, the more I got excited by the prospect of it. And every time I would come back to the idea, I got those giddy, stomach butterflies like when you’re falling in love.
I thought about all of the different classes I could offer, how I could do some pretty cool hands-on stuff that would actually be both interesting and helpful, how I could get manufacturers to donate items for me to give away, how there really anything like this geared towards adults on the ship. And then I thought how I could sell myself to Disney; how on paper, my pedigree is pretty frickin’ impressive looking.
All this, of course, before I’ve even gone so far as look into how I would even reach out to someone for such a preposterous suggestion, mind you.
But, that’s the beauty of an idea. At the beginning, it’s just…perfect.