Our next featured GIANT (since we should all strive to stand on the shoulders of giants, right?) is James Altucher. I hadn’t heard of him prior to reading Tim’s book. Basically, he’s a hedge fund manager, best-selling author and an entrepreneur. Most people would be excited to be just one of those, I think!!

He founded or co-founded 20 companies… and 17 of them failed. (3 made him tens of millions of dollars, though!!) That’s a failure rate of… 17×5..ummm…. 85%! (Yeah, I totally just used a calculator to do that math…) So statistically, he probably went through 6 to 8 businesses failing before he had a success. That is a testament to perserverance, if I’ve ever heard one!

Anyway, onwards.

He was talking about having good ideas. And how it’s really hard to sit down and come up with good ideas. But coming up with ideas is a great exercise for our brains… so he recommends making lists of 10 ideas on a given subject. And if you can’t get to 10, then you gotta come up with 20. So, for example, if I was going to brainstorm ideas on the subject of how to get together enough money for a house downpayment, I might come up with:

  • Eat out less
  • Spend less on clothes and accessories and outfits for my dog
  • Put aside $5 a day
  • Set up an untouchable savings account
  • Work harder to make more money

Umm… let’s say I’m out of ideas and I didn’t hit 10. It means I’m trying to hard to have GOOD ideas. The exercise is to brainstorm. So since I can’t get to 10, I need to hit 20… Which is going to cause me to be more creative like:

  • Sell our furniture on Craigslist
  • Get a second job at Starbucks
  • Sell my car and bike everywhere
  • Start painting dog portraits and sell them for $200 each on Etsy
  • Get 4 roommates to move into my apartment
  • Revive one of my old books that I let go out of print, sell it at swap meets, on Amazon, on Ebay
  • Etc Etc

So James Altucher says that most of his most brilliant ideas came out of his wild brainstorming sessions.

But to keep this business related. What can you brainstorm 10 or 20 ideas for?

  • How do I get more customers?
  • How do I get better reviews?
  • How do I hire more reliable employees?
  • How do I replace myself so I can retire one day?
  • How do I make my product/service 4x better?
  • How do I make my store look more inviting?