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Reblogged:Sam Altman on Generating Ideas

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Investor-entrepreneur Sam Altman discussed how one could come up with ideas for new businesses at his blog some time ago. As is so often the case with the topic of creativity, there is a great deal of overlap between his discussion and other areas of creative endeavor.

Here's an unexpectedly good example:

Image by The One Is Alone, via Unsplash, license.
Any time you can think of something that is possible this year and wasn't possible last year, you should pay attention. You may have the seed of a great startup idea. This is especially true if next year will be too late.

When you can say "I am sure this is going to happen, I'm just not sure if we'll be the ones to do it", that's a good sign. Uber was like this for me -- after the first time I used it, it was clear we weren't going to be calling cabs for that much longer, but I wasn't sure that Uber was going to win the space. [bold added]
Altman is, of course referring to the kinds of innovations that technological advances make possible, but what of opportunities for persuasion laid bare by the march of history? This election has some very interesting implications, which create (or reveal) some equally interesting opportunities for persuasion.

Let's spitball a few:
  • Assuming Donald Trump has lost, might this be a particularly good time to help conservatives rediscover the value of free trade and free markets?
  • For someone portrayed (justly or not) as a bigot, Donald Trump sure did make inroads with lots of individuals from the very demographic groups targeted by identity politics. Might identity politics be wearing thin? Might the time be ripe to pitch individualism as the alternative to that divisive and destructive mindset?
  • There was hardly a "blue wave" in this election, and, as economist John Cochrane has noted, voters in California seemed downright libertarian in how they voted on their ballot initiatives. Does this discrepancy reveal a way to reach people who usually vote for Democrats? Does it reveal an appetite for a better alternative to religious or nationalist conservatism?
Of course, one can make the case for liberty to anyone, and at any time. But elections can illuminate some angles of approach that are non-obvious or that could be more productive than others.

-- CAV

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