Monday, April 7, 2008

Learning from past successes (Part 1): the Million Dollar Homepage (is your idea unique?)

There's a seemingly endless supply of novel ideas out there, often concocted from a desire to make a quick buck or two. Depending on the nature of the idea, though, the person who "makes it to market" first and loudest might be the only one to enjoy the benefit of such novelty.

Take a loook at the "Million Dollar Homepage", for example. Some of you may recall the idea when it first started out -- some "crazy person" setting out to sell pixels off on a single page at a dollar each. If you bought a sizeable enough block of them, you could have your logo or some other message appear -- all with clickable areas to take you to the place they were there to represent.

It might have seemed crazy, but it worked. It hit the media, and sure enough, all pixels were sold off in relatively short order. The person that enjoyed the success of the idea is doing what they can to set off in similar but distinct directions, to try to enjoy similar gains from ideas with additional unique twists. Approached in a good way, I won't be surprised if they find similar success again -- they certainly aren't trying to do the same thing again, as the novelty has largely worn off.

As we can see from others trying to capitalize by using a cookie cutter model of that first million dollar homepage, some ideas just won't succeed in the same way when they're rehashed. The Million Dollar Homepage Canada and the Million Dollar Webpage appear to be two such casualties.

What can be learned from this?
1.) Novel ideas can work! With a good approach and enough exposure, even the strangest "That'll never work" concept can gain wings and fly.

2.) A success in business does not equate to that success being an appropriate business model for future successes.

It's not sufficient to assume that if you do something the same way that someone else did, you'll enjoy similar success. That's not to mean that you shouldn't try.

If you are planning to tread a similar path to a novel success, you need to ask yourself:
"Why will my endeavour succeed?" -- if you do something to set your idea apart from the original, and pursue it vigorously, you stand a much better chance of success. A few other questions go along with this: "What sets my idea apart?" and "Why will people choose to use what I offer over what the competition offers?"

If your idea has already been done, what can you do to set it apart to make it newsworthy once again? The Million Dollar Homepage creator isn't simply creating a "Million Dollar Homepage - take 2", and neither should you...put that unique twist on it that grabs people's attention, then drive it forward to success.

Most importantly, learn from the mistakes that you make as well as others, and don't give up. The most common traits that drive success in business are determination and persistence -- some ideas may have been flops along the way, but your efforts haven't failed if you're still adapting and pushing forward with new ideas.

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