So many people sit back and judge the innovations that hit the market. Whether it be insisting that the internet was just a fad, or denying that an iPhone was actually worth the money, consumers jump at any opportunity to turn their nose up at what could be the next big thing.
Not only do they snub new ideas, but they also insist that they had come up with that same idea themselves long before the product is introduced to the market. The reality is that we all are full of good ideas because we all have daily problems that we want to see solved. So, maybe you did think of Facebook before Mark Zuckerberg, or Spanx before Sara Blakely, but Zuckerberg and Blakely were the ones bold enough to actually take their idea and turn it into something real.
This takes me to my experience at The Hatch this past week. My first experience with The Hatch was actually three years ago during my freshman year. As a student majoring in both Journalism and Business – and who, at the time, was considering minoring in Entrepreneurship as well – I had enrolled in a class called BUS 190: The Art of Starting. This is a class that, in all honesty, gives you a crash course in all things business. From Accounting, to Marketing, to patent law, you learn everything you could possibly need to know to at least take baby steps into bringing one of your good ideas to fruition. Part of this class required multiple visits to The Hatch to listen to alumni guest speakers, all of whom raved about their experiences as young entrepreneurs at MSU.
Three years ago I saw exactly what life could look like if you were brave enough to step into The Hatch and pitch your idea. I spoke with living, breathing success stories. But still, I was too timid to take the plunge. Surely none of my ideas could be worth pitching – at least that’s what I told myself.
However, this past week, I was assigned to not only attend class in The Hatch, but also to pitch an idea in front of all my classmates. While public speaking doesn’t intimidate me, immediate public feedback does. For days I wondered what idea I had floating around in my brain that was worth sharing in front of my peers – and wouldn’t make me the laughing stock of the class.
What I realized, after giving my pitch and hearing those of my classmates, was that there is no such thing as a bad idea. Some people had ideas that are already products in the market; some had the same idea as others. But the reality is, if you are pitching an idea for a product that is in the market, and you didn’t know it was available to you, then there is likely room in the market for a new, more accessible product that can do the job better. And, if two people pitch the same idea, then clearly there is potential for that idea to be brought to life because more than one person, in a small group of people, had come up with the same solution for individual problems.
There is no fear in the brainstorming process. There are no ideas that you should be ashamed of. If you identify a problem in your own life, and come up with a solution that works for you, it is likely that solution can apply way beyond just you. What is necessary, however, is having the confidence and tenacity to actually pursue turning that idea into a product.
For many, starting a company would be a very overwhelming feat. The necessary amount of resources alone could kill the company before it even starts. There is no excuse for MSU students though, because The Hatch is free and has everything you need to get off the ground, from helping you find funding, to building the right team, to giving you a creative meeting space to work in. It is a niche in the MSU environment that students may not be fully aware of, and are undoubtedly missing out on. There is no better time or place to bring your best idea and have someone help you try to make it more than just an idea.
My freshman year, I was much too shy and naïve to understand how essential of a resource The Hatch really is. But I am a junior now. I have one more year to actually step up and make the most of this opportunity. I wish that I had known back then what I know now – that it isn’t about how many times you fail at something, but how many times you choose not to try. Even if my idea doesn’t take root and find success, at least I will have known that I gave it my best shot, and that is a lot more than most people can say.
Paul Jaques, the director o The Hatch, mentioned being bitten by the entrepreneurial bug in his presentation. Well, I can say that I believe that bug has spread to me. And this time, I won’t let the fear of failure stop me from trying.