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Newsletter #706: The “How To Do Ultra-Easy Research” Issue

{Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I Thought of That Email Newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the left.}

1> IdeaStorm
2> Pizza
3> Prototype
4> Just ask

1> IdeaStorm

Less is more. Dell’s IdeaStorm ( started with one request: give us your ideas. Within weeks, people started posting ideas that you could comment on and "promote" or "demote" to gain recognition. In six months, users generated 4,000 ideas. The site had 40,000 comments and 400,000 votes. As of right now, the number of ideas is around 8,000. All for free.

The Lesson: Don’t overcomplicate, just ask.

2> Pizza

Invite ten random people to a meeting, give them free pizza, and tell them your action plan. You’ll discover that your big complicated ideas mean nothing to half of them. And you’ll walk out of the meeting with some super easy ones you never would have thought of.

The Lesson: Before you spend money on expensive research, just ask.

3> Prototype

Instead of talking about features, try them out. Put up a quick prototype of your site. You can create a decent web site in a day or two with off-the-shelf blogging software. The process of creating it, testing it, and talking about it will highlight problems and give you new ideas.

The Lesson: It’s easier to test it than talk about it.

4> Just ask

As soon as your prototype is up, post a link to Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter — wherever you have a lot of friends. Ask what they think. You’ll get instant feedback, smart ideas, and real support from the smartest people.

The Lesson: Your friends will tell you what they think.

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  1. michael cardus August 5, 2008 at 6:56 am #

    We often become trapped in isolation spinning our hamster brains faster with complicated ideas. Your “Just ask” philosophy is simple yet brave. You must be willing to take the advice from people – while still holding onto something you feel is valuable.

  2. Zenobia Hurley August 7, 2008 at 9:29 pm #

    Andy, what’s the best way to ask people to comment? I posted my link in the “what are you doing?” segment of LinkedIn and Facebook and only got a couple of responses. I also started a page in Facebook with hardly a response. What am I missing?

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