Tuesday, March 15, 2011

No Plan B

Problem Solving

Several weeks ago, I had the good fortune of attending WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) in Las Vegas, Nevada.  It was an opportunity to mingle with other photographers, exchange ideas, attend workshops, and interact with thousands of vendors.  It was truly exciting and overwhelming at the same time.

One of the highlights of the trip was meeting and making a new friend, Jim.  He was a man in his late 60's and appeared to be average at first glance.  You know silver hair about five foot eight and of scottish ancestry.  There was nothing in particular that would have jumped out at you about Jim.  We met at a breakfast counter at the MGM Grand and after about five minutes of me playing on my iPad with my bluetooth keyboard, Jim spoke to me.

"Do you mind if I see your iPad?" He said.  "I've been staring at it and how you are using it; I gave mine away because I didn't think I would use it."  I love talking to tech stuff to strangers and told him that he could see it and play with it himself.  In a matter of minutes we struck up a pretty good conversation.

Solution Finding Focus
Originally from Cambridge, MA, Jim was an entrepreneur who had sold his invention and missed the competition of his business life and "work".  He had invented a laptop cooling device called the "CoolPad".  Apparently, it became such a hit that Jim now resides at the MGM Signature hotel and plays his passion, poker, on the weekends.  He told me he plays because he loves the competition.

When I asked Jim about how came up with his invention, he said that he just stared at the laptop for two days.  He said that became his job to find something that he could make for that product.  That was it.  His job in life was to figure out was before him.  It wasn't complicated.

The next day I thought more about Jim's story and I decided to send him an email: 

I was the fellow you sat next to for breakfast, the fellow with the iPad.  You made me think about the direction, I am headed.  It seems that my job is to figure that out and not stop until I get there.
Thanks for speaking with me and sharing your story.
Jim was quick to respond and sent me a brief email back:

          Hi Al,

          Go for it, there is no plan B


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