Cover 2 Cover Magazine September 2011 : Page 21

The Power of Positive Thinking by Paige Arnof-Fenn The theme of this month’s magazine is music. I am a huge music fan. Having grown up in New Orleans I think jazz is just in my blood. I go back there every year for the Jazz Festival. The first startup I worked for in the 90s was a music website in fact. I am not that musical, but I really appreciate talented musi-cians. I heard a great quote recently by the musician John Mayer, “Nobody’s music is the enemy of your music...The idea that someone else has made it when they shouldn’t have made it is toxic thinking.” I think this also applies to business! No matter what line of work you are in, there is a lot of competition out there. Life is just not a zero sum game. It is not about dividing up the pie. I am a firm believer in finding creative ways to bake more pies. The engine of our innovation economy is fueled by people who figure out ways to create new opportuni-ties. Just as John Mayer admits there are an infinite number of ways to organize the notes and make new music, I think there are infinite ways to create energy and excitement across every category and here are some examples of that: Poilane bread – Monsieur Poilane found a way to make flour, water and yeast special, the most basic of ingredients and voila people stand in line to pay a premium for his bread. Harry Potter – JK Rowling has created a multi billion dollar industry around the boy wizard. People said kids don’t read, that all the stories had already been written but she proved them wrong! Mrs. Fields – who knew cookies could be branded so well? Famous Amos did a great job too, there is room in the market for all the good ideas. iPhone/iMac/iPad/iPod, etc – who knew we needed these gadgets during the “worst economy since the Great Depression”, but Apple has sold a record num-ber and demand is still high. Back to music, Taylor Swift/Justin Bieber/Brittany Spears/James Taylor/Lady Gaga/James Brown, etc. There is room for them all. Variety is the spice of life and some days you feel mellow other times you need a jolt of caffeine to get you going. So what can you do to spice things up in your indus-try? Can you tell a better story like JK Rowling? Design the product so that it is easier to use and both beautiful and functional like Steve Jobs? Or maybe just add your own personality to basic ingredients like Debbie Fields or Famous Amos? Shakespeare was wrong, there are more than twelve story lines and plots on the world. So listen to some jazz this month and let your mind wander, the notes will mix in new and interesting ways and if you keep your antenna up and mind open, you may just stumble upon your next Big Idea. Now that is the power of positive thinking! September 2011 | Cover 2 Cover Magazine 21

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