Thursday, May 28, 2009

Take the Pebble From This Blog

MASTER PO: Close your eyes. What do you hear?
YOUNG CAINE: I hear the water, I hear the birds.
PO: Do you hear your own heartbeat?
PO: Do you hear the grasshopper that is at your feet?
CAINE: Old man, how is it that you hear these things?
PO: Young man, how is it that you do not?

The seventies TV Series "Kung Fu" showed us how David Carradine's character was continuously inspired by his mentor, the blind Master Po. The zen guru's ability to uncover hidden truths became a recurring theme as Caine became one with his spiritual potential.

This story line has returned in the form of a clever re-branding initiative from a U.S. phone system company. The company (formerly gotvmail)has prophetically re-named itself "Grasshopper", positioning itself as a business of inspiration.

Grasshopper has also sent 5,000 bags of chocolate-covered grasshoppers to the most influential entrepreneurs and innovators in North America.

David Hauser is Grasshopper's co-founder and chief technology officer. Here's what he had to say about the re-branding effort: "We wanted something that spoke to our customers. We truly believe that entrepreneurs power this world. They are going to save our economy, and the more attention we bring to that, the better. We want people to see and share this video and feel one of two things. Either they are inspired to go out and do something they felt they couldn't do before, to create the job they've always wanted and go out and start that for themselves; or, they're reminded of why they're doing what they do every day. There are a lot of challenges, a lot of ups and downs, and sometimes it's just nice to remember what the larger impact is. Just go out there and do it. There are a lot of people saying no, saying it can't be done and it's a bad time in the economy. There are a lot of no's around. People don't go out there and do what they want because they're scared".

What do you make of this rebranding effort? Will it translate into more customers and increased profits? Is Grasshopper a more memorable or impactful brand than GotVMail?

And what about the message itself?

Does it make want to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit?

Release your inner child?

Live the dream and stimulate the economy?

Entrepreneurial thinking hinges on taking a massive leap of faith while embracing true uncertainty, particularly if you want to bring something new to the dance. Before the Internet, nobody knew there would be a market for businesses such as Amazon, e-Bay, YouTube, Expedia etc. It was only after the new technology emerged did people begin to see opportunities present themselves.

Opportunities are still presenting themselves each day, but just because a man can see does not mean he chooses to look. Or take the plunge.

If you are reading this and thinking about getting into business for yourself, ask yourself two questions:

Does a market exist for your idea?

And does it exist for a kid like you?

"When you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave" MASTER KAN



Good timing for me on this post Gair. Proved to be a kick in the pants...

Kevin said...

Wow! That was powerful! I have music and videos that get me pumped up for workouts or sporting events, but never before did I see a video that get's me going for business success. Thanks Gair!

Gair Maxwell said...

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts guys ... Always interested in what it is in some of these postings that speaks to people and how it helps them move their business or brand move forward in a positive way.

Mark L. Fox said...


At the end of your post you said..

If you are reading this and thinking about getting into business for yourself, ask yourself two questions:

Does a market exist for your idea?

And does it exist for a kid like you?

I know what you are saying. I would add to this "The 4 Questions" it is what I always ask when looking at a new business opportunity. You can read about it here;