Recently, I’ve been spending a lot time thinking about how to make big ideas happen. Getting the outcome you want, when a lot of people think your ideas are unrealistic, is insanely challenging.
To conquer the task of making insane ideas reality, I decided to first look at how Elon Musk is trying to make his goal of getting humans to Mars come to fruition with SpaceX.
To achieve his goal of getting humans to Mars, Musk isn’t (too publicly) focused on the ultimate goal of Mars, but rather working on achieving it by focusing on the middle tasks. This means that instead of saying “we are going to Mars!” he recruits the best engineers to first do something that is possible, so that he can motivate them to go for the impossible later.
When you recruit a talented team made up of people who will eventually be ready to chase the impossible with you, you are able to overcome the obstacle of turning a dream into reality.
However, since most people who read this likely know the story of Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Tesla, I wanted to find another, lesser known person and company to examine.
The other company that I found to have a fascinating story about chasing an idea that sounded impossible is uBeam.
uBeam is making it so that you can charge your devices without wires, using sound waves. This means that your devices would potentially always be charged, using the vibrations in the air from sound waves.
That sounds pretty amazing, right? It also perhaps sounds impossible!
The last question and statement is the challenge that uBeam founder Meredith Perry faced. Perry kept looking for engineers to help her, but every one of them told her that what she was asking for was impossible and they didn’t want to be part of the project.
To overcome this obstacle of no engineers believing in her vision, Perry eventually used a somewhat counterintuitive approach to get people to believe in her: she decided to mask the goal she eventually wanted to achieve.
Instead of telling engineers that she wanted to make charging using sound waves possible, she changed her pitch to simply ask if somebody could build her the device that she needed for the outcome she desired. This means that instead of saying “I want to make wireless charging reality,” she switched to say, “can you build me X that has the following properties…”
This is an amazing strategy for getting things done and making big ideas happen because, if your idea is truly original, almost nobody is going to believe in your ultimate vision.
This strategy, which both Elon Musk and Meredith Perry have used, is focused on incrementally getting people to help you achieve a goal and truly original idea.
The lesson here for entreprenurs who think big is rather simple: If you have a big and original idea, don’t focus too heavily on your ultimate outcome when trying to make other people believe in you; make people believe in your idea in a systematic and well-timed way.