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Poke the Box

When Was the Last Time You Did Something for the First Time?

By Seth Godin
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Poke the Box by Seth Godin

Poke the Box (2015) dives deep into today’s connected economy, where initiative and innovation are more important than financial capital or prestige. If you want to embrace innovation and be the first to stick your neck out with a new idea, you must overcome your fear of failure and keep bouncing back when you get knocked down. This is a handbook for those who need a push to take their ideas off the drawing board and into the real world.

Key idea 1 of 6

In today’s ever-shifting economy, the ability to adapt and change is essential for success.

What would you do if there were no obstacles in your way? Is there a dream project you’d pursue if you had all the resources and the cooperation from others you needed?

These days, instead of money, contacts and powerful organizations, the most important success factor for businesses is instigation capital: the desire and entrepreneurial spirit required to take the initiative and turn your dreams into a reality.

In the past few years, money has become less important for business success. In 2012, 67 internet start-ups were funded in San Francisco and New York. But traditionally, the amount of money needed for this would have only covered around 20 companies in Silicon Valley. This illustrates how much cheaper it is to operate a successful business these days.

This means that money and networks are no longer the most crucial factors for launching a successful venture. What you really need is the drive to pursue your goals. What you need is instigation capital.

Anyone can take a business class and learn about marketing, distribution and all the other elements of business. What’s not taught in class is instigation. Yet, if there’s no one around to inspire and push an idea forward, there is no business – and certainly no product to market and distribute.

Without initiative, all anyone can do is sit back and watch the changes that other players are instigating.

Take Wikipedia, for example. It was started in 2001 by regular people who were inspired to build an online encyclopedia that was open to contributions from anyone.

Though the idea wasn’t to overtake the dominant player at the time, Encyclopaedia Britannica, that’s exactly what happened. And the reason was that Encyclopaedia Britannica lacked the initiative to take advantage of the internet.

With countless investors ready to fund the next great idea, there’s just one thing separating the next Wikipedia from the next Encyclopaedia Britannica: the initiative to bring that idea to life.

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