The 48 Hour Million Dollar Brainstorm
Overview of the 48 Hour Million Dollar Brainstorm
Section A: Introduction: Starting With a Broken Laser Pointer
It’s September of 1995. A young 28-year-old man by the name of Pierre is sitting in his living room, putting the final coding touches on his personal website. This website includes information about the Ebola virus, although not very many people are going to remember that little fact in a few years.
What makes Pierre’s site memorable is that he’s created a marketplace – an auction site, which he calls Auction Web. And the first thing he sells on his site is a broken laser pointer for $14.83. This surprises Pierre so much that he calls his buyer to make sure the guy knows that the laser pointer was broken. The buyer knew – in fact, he collected broken laser pointers.
Fast forward to the summer of 1996. Pierre’s little auction site has cleared $10,000 in revenues and continues to grow, so Pierre hires his first employee.
By 1997, Pierre’s site had grown so rapidly that he was able to secure $6.7 million in funding from a venture capital firm. And this was right around the time that Pierre Omidyar’s Auction Web site was renamed to eBay.
I don’t think I have to tell you the rest of the story. Because unless you’re living under a rock, you’re well aware that eBay is a large, profitable and extremely successful business. And it was all started by one guy brainstorming an idea in his living room.
Some people might think that eBay was just some kind of weird fluke of a company that started with a little idea and blossomed into a successful business. But if you look around, you’ll see plenty of these sorts of success stories.
Think of Dell computers, which was started by a college kid in a dorm room.
Or Google, which was originally housed in the founder’s garage.
Or even Starbucks coffee. That business was started by three friends who all chipped in about $1300 each. They modeled their first store after another successful coffee house. After a few bumps in the road, they developed a business model that worked – and Starbucks became a worldwide brand.
And the stories go on and on, with companies you know such as Apple, Whole Foods, Amazon, and even Coors Beer. But the best part is that for every well-known business that started small and grew big, there are probably hundreds of stories from successful individuals who’re doing the same thing.
I know, those are big examples of billion-dollar companies. But think of it – if a multi-billion dollar company can get its start from one little idea and an operation run out of a garage or living room, then surely you can come up with a million dollar idea.
And the good news is, there are plenty of people who’ve blazed the trail before you and proved that it could be done…
Take the example of Simon Hodgkinson and his business partner Jeremy Gislason. These two brainstormed a little idea that started off as a special offer for their existing info product and software customers. This little idea made $80,000 during its launch week. Within two years, this single idea had made over $3 million.
The point is, these success stories aren’t flukes. These aren’t rare sightings or myths like the Loch Ness Monster or Big Foot. These are real. And there are plenty of people who’ve brainstormed an idea, tested the idea rather quickly, and then went on to build a big and successful business around their idea.