I’m walking the halls of Apple Computer’s headquarters in Cupertino, CA. It’s 1996 and the company is hemorrhaging cash. They have no direction, leadership or ideas that matter.
My guide is Peter, he’s leading a project to make the next Apple Powerbook look cool and hopefully gain traction within the market.
How did I get here? I kept asking myself this as we walked the halls talking about the past glory of Apple and how different it was during my visit. Peter was a friend of a friend of a friend, and I was there because I said yes. I always say yes.
Apple was testing a removable cover for their new Powerbook model and wanted them to be textured with a few different finishes and colors so customers could customize the look of it when purchased. I had no idea what he was talking about, so I said yes, I can do it, no problem.
A few things that stand out from my tour of Apple were how the halls were lined with rich wood paneling, the furnishings were impeccable, and the art hanging throughout was beautiful. It was amazing.
The thing I remember most, however, was how empty the place was. It was like a sad, quiet ghost town. I felt like I was viewing the casket of a once great company.
Apple had lost their way. They had no ideas, and even I knew this cover idea was a bad one.
Ideas are the currency of your future
A popular saying is that ideas are crap and execution is everything. I disagree. Yes, you need to execute an idea for it to have value, but you can’t execute from zero. The idea is the foundation.
The problem is if you wait to come up with an idea until you’re in a bind and need it most, it’s too late. 99.9% of the time, the ideas you come up with under this pressure will be shit, like the Powerbook cover idea.
Author and Blogger James Altucher talks about using his idea muscle every day. Claudia Altucher, who is married to James, took this to the next level by writing a book titled Become an Idea Machine.
The principle is simple, use your brain like a muscle and exercise it every day. If you do, it will get stronger.
10 ideas a day
Want to change your life in the next six months? Here’s a challenge.
Come up with 10 ideas and write them down every day. They can be about anything, and they don’t even have to be good ideas. Think of it like sit-ups for your mind. Just start exercising your brain to do what it was created to do. Think.
Doing this may seem pointless, but if you have the courage to take on this challenge you will look back in six months and realize it started things in motion that have positively impacted all areas of your life.
Without Steve Jobs, Apple was finished. Without new and creative ideas, our lives are no different.
The 180-day challenge.
Claudia’s book has the perfect 180-day challenge all lined out. She gives you a daily topic, and you put your brain to work and think up 10 ideas about that topic. It’s strategic and will make you more creative than you have ever imagined.
- Buy the book Become An Idea Machine
- Read the first few pages to understand the concept
- Come up with 10 ideas for day one (good ideas, bad ideas, doesn’t matter)
Get in the flow of thinking so when you come up with an idea you like, you can execute. Needing an idea when you’re desperate is hard, by exercising your brain you will have several ideas in your back pocket when you need them most.
Why ideas matter
I had some fun, made several hundred Powerbook covers and cashed some checks from Apple before they came to the logical conclusion, Powerbook covers were a bad idea.
We all know how it turned out for Apple. Steve Jobs, who was an idea machine, came back to the company and pumped it full of people who were also idea machines. It’s pretty safe to say it worked out.
If you want to improve your life, business, health or relationships. Join me in this 180-day challenge to start exercising our brains.
Let’s become idea machines.
This Week’s Podcast
Here is a great podcast episode with James and Claudia Altucher talking about exercising your idea muscle and how becoming an idea machine can change your life in the next six months.
For more info on James Altucher’s podcast visit his iTunes page. Be sure to check out his other episodes and subscribe to the Podcast if you find you connect with his show. Also, make sure to leave a rating and a comment in iTunes so James feels the love.