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Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Midbutton and Other Reasons To Think Small

I2m_midbuttonexample_2 I don't wear ties.  It's not so much a rule as it is a preferred statement - learned over being in the interactive industry for more than ten years.  Instead, I often wear button down shirts, which leads me to the most serious of all wardrobe questions that men around the world deal with on a nearly daily basis ... how many buttons do you leave unbuttoned?  Do you just unbutton the top one, resulting in a somewhat dorky (but common) look -- or do you unbutton the top two buttons leaving a perhaps unacceptable amount of the chest exposed and bordering (in some office settings) on the unprofessional.  Let's not even add the undershirt/no undershirt debate to this, or I would have to turn this post into a book project.  What if there was a "midbutton" ... a button between the first and second button that was in between these two options?  Chances are, a shirt brand that quietly offered this would rise to the top as a favourite shirt for guys.  As you might have guessed, this post is not about midbuttons - but the idea does bring up an interesting point. 

There are a lot of books, seminars, classes and advice that you will get from people about coming up with the big idea.  Big ideas transform businesses, and create new markets.  They revolutionize the way you communicate with your customers and employees.  Big ideas are based on insights.  I believe in insights and I love big ideas.  We need them and I would never tell you not to strive for that.  But big ideas are not the only way to success.  Sometimes small ideas, when stacked up on top of one another, can be much more effective.  It's difference between being the best at one thing or being really good at ten things.  Most companies want to be the best at one thing - but they tend to hire people that are really good at many things.  This is not about avoiding or not striving for big ideas.  Those will always have an important place.  Just don't forget that finding a hundred midbutton sized ideas and putting them together may be a better idea in some situations.  Sometimes the best innovation comes from thinking small.

Note: The photos above were purchased for use in this post from istockphoto.

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Comments

Great thoughts Rohit - I think that shirt company would make a fortune, I feel your pain.

Also, if a company had small victories, I'm thinking that it would allow for a greater chance of visibility and drawing customers that will stick with them even until the big idea and stay around afterwards. The smaller great ideas are the magnet to draw customers and the big idea is like the icing on the cake to me. In a world where buzzwords like "innovation" and "viral" abound, many people just want to see something actually work and work well.

Rohit...thanks for raising this issue.
we can't all be the next Ipod. But if we stack our great little ideas, perhaps we can be the next Starbucks.
If the choice is between the first and second button - its a case by case assessment determined by the extent of chest hair.
cheers

Rohit...thanks for raising this issue.
we can't all be the next Ipod. But if we stack our great little ideas, perhaps we can be the next Starbucks.
If the choice is between the first and second button - its a case by case assessment determined by the extent of chest hair.
cheers

I'd have to say go with two buttons unopened. This works for guys who are fit and handle themselves with confidence. It's not the end of the world to unbutton only one button, but it surely says "more inhibited and conservative" than the other.

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