By Chris McGinty
I wrote an introduction to this series of posts into a blog post that will also have links to each of the posts I write, and if Nathan joins in to the posts he writes. I discussed the fact that because of the nature of my job delivering pizza, I could either list in a normal way with a notebook on the passenger seat that I wrote in between deliveries or I could use technology and dictate into a speech to text app. The second method made sure that I wasn’t slowing down my delivering by writing all of my thoughts into a notebook before I drove off, and it also gave me another advantage. This is what I said when I started the speech to text file:
“Okay so Nathan and I are each making a list of a hundred possible projects that we could do so I’m just going to go it’s going to make a big list of things and maybe talk about what could be done for each of the projects or whatever like maybe like the next step or something define the projects a little bit play I just want to kind of make a list…”
You know what? I think I should edit it. Speech to text apps are great for convenience, but not so much for readability.
“Nathan and I are each making a list of a hundred possible projects that we could do, so I’m just going to make a big list of projects, and maybe talk about what could be done for each of the projects – define the projects a little, maybe include the next step. My focus is to make the list, but I figure since I’m dictating I can get a little bit more detailed. The criteria for this is that it can be anything from ‘can absolutely be done’ and should be put on a To Do List to ‘Probably impossible.’ An example of this might be from ‘clean out the garage’ to ‘beat Elon Musk to Mars.’ Let’s just go ahead and start with those two right there.”
You can see what I was going for. As I continued on, I started thinking about how these lists could be used, but to start with I just wanted to have a few of my thoughts. Later, I realized that I could get some blog post mileage out of my dictations, and since they are still blog posts, I do want to attempt to make them useful for the reader. This is my way of showing that when brainstorming, you should probably get an obvious and easy idea as well as a bizarre and probably impossible idea onto your list as soon as possible. I feel it opens your mind to the idea that they don’t all have to be winners.
Clean Out the Garage
Since we’re mostly listing projects we can do together, we would choose either Nathan’s garage and I would go over and help him clean up, or we would choose my garage and Nathan would come over and help me clean it. Since Nathan can’t leave the Holodeck, we’d probably do his. The other option would be that we do both on separate occasions. I guess there is always the option that we just each separately clean our own garages, but what’s the fun in that?
If we wanted to turn this idea knob to 11, we could try to convince Miguel to let us come over and clean out his garage. Of course, I think the last time we tried to do that it ended up being a bloodbath – figuratively, of course.
To me this sort of screams of the kind of thing you video tape and then post to You Tube. Nathan, are you reading this? Ok, here’s the idea. You setup a day where you can leeeeet the sunshine, leeeet the sunshine in, the suuuunshine in to your garage and have a couple of hours completely uninterrupted. You video tape from afar as you clean up. Then anytime you have a thought that you would like to say to the camera, you sit down and talk. Maybe it’s something you found while cleaning that you want to tell everybody about. Maybe you just had an odd thought while in your silent cleaning reverie. When you edit it, you do your signature sped up footage move with some whimsical music, but when you stop to say something you slow everything down to normal speed, maybe with sound effects.
Beat Elon Musk to Mars
Find in an hour to get the dictation to actually take that I had to actually send violence about though.
This is the problem with speech to text. I think I may have been making a joke about “beating” Elon Musk by saying that this idea was violent, but whatever I said and whatever it logged are not the same. Ok, from here on out, I won’t comment on the speech to text, but I can’t promise that I won’t start a blog post where I examine some of the crazier things that the app transcribes. For now, I’ll just take the basic ideas and properly write them.
Getting to Mars before Elon Musk would be one of those ideas that’s probably way out of our depth, because neither me nor Nathan have run something that big ever in our entire lives. Also, the lack of engineering degrees, but why do we want to get hung up on trivial matters?
The first thing that we would need to do is find somebody who had the money and connections to build a Space X competitor, and who actually felt the need to go to Mars first. I discussed while dictating, and then later while talking on the phone to Nathan about our ideas, that this was just me opening up the list to bigger ideas. The problem is that I’m not even remotely passionate about this idea. I think if this truly interested me, I would try to get a job with Space X, not compete.
On the other hand, there is something to be said for the idea of being in charge of a company that had really lofty goals and a lot of really smart people who I’m in charge of. Maybe I find the billionaire and we start to build a space company, but then we just change course and do dumb things that I think of randomly. It could work.
I don’t know if Nathan and I will ever really be venture capital kind of entrepreneurs, but maybe this could be scaled down as a project to make legitimate business contacts for future big projects we might do. After all, Elon Musk has a huge head start, and truly believes he’ll be to Mars by 2030. Maybe we just let him pave the way, and then we can use all our big name contacts (that we’ll be making over the next ten years) to build an evil colonization company headed by a mediocre comedian in a dramatic role.
As I’m editing this post a couple of months after I wrote what you already read, I recently have been watching the new episodes of “Spitting Image.” One of the plots has to do with Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Richard Branson competing to get to Mars. So we have two potential people there to ally with, you know, in the timeline where we think of this as a good idea.
I did think of a good next step for myself which is watching videos and reading articles about the journey to Mars, so that I have a little bit of a concept what it might take to do so. This is unlikely to lead Nathan and me to going to Mars, but it might inspire something else.
There Are No Bad Ideas in Brainstorming
I’ll spend some time on more of my project ideas in future blog posts, but I wanted to take a moment to discuss brainstorming. As you can see, this was real early in the process of me coming up with ideas for this list. One of the ideas is reasonable, doable, and completely uninspired. The other might be the jumping off point for another idea, but it’s completely useless for Nathan and me as a real project as is.
To me this is why it doesn’t make sense to be stay in safe waters when brainstorming. If you’re going to have two useless ideas, they should at least be ideas that make people say, “Well, that’s creative for sure,” even if they’re being douche bags… I mean, even if they’re being sarcastic.
Group brainstorming is no- no- notorious… huh hum… notorious for not really producing any ideas of substance, and those who write about brainstorming largely believe it is because people fear judgment by others. I feel this is one of the worst things that can happen in a brainstorming session. Next time you’re in a group brainstorm, say the following before you start, “It’s better that a brainstorming session should fail to produce a usable idea because too many of the ideas were too wild than because too many of the ideas were too tame.” Then start the session by telling everyone to come up with one dull but doable idea, and then one crazy idea that’s probably impossible and maybe even a little off topic. Well, we could hold a bake sale… or we could use the town catapult to kill the invaders with the corpse of a unicorn. Your choice.
Chris McGinty is a blogger who is strongly devoted to two principles: clean garages and pioneering Mars. He’ll be less devoted to these ideas as he writes more blog posts about his 200 Projects ideas.