Think your business idea is crazy? Don’t be so sure.
Entrepreneurs through the years have innovated and moved society forward with ideas just like yours that seemed crazy at the time.
Sure, some crazy ideas turn out to be just that — crazy. But others have been just crazy enough to work. And they’ve changed entire industries in the process.
Beloware some of those product and service ideas people thought were crazy at the time, but ended up being huge successes.
A Computer that Fitson Your Desk
Early computers were so huge they took up entire rooms and were mainly used for things like decoding military communications. So the thought that people would ever want computers in their own homes for strictly personal use was revolutionary back when microprocessors came about in the 1970s.
A British Rock Group
A group from England that played rock n’ roll a la Elvis wasn’t exactly a sure thing when the Beatles were trying to get a record contract in the beginning of their career. Today British rock groups are a common occurrence.
A Phone That Acts Like a Computer
In 2007, shortly after Steve Jobs’ iconic keynote presentation where he unveiled the first iPhone, Microsoft’s then-CEO Steve Balmer went on the record as saying, “There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance.”
Shaving Goods Sent to Your Door
Signing up for a subscription service to order shave goods when you could just as easily buy those same items in stores didn’t seem like a completely necessary or great service just a few years ago. But that concept is what has made Wet Shave Club and other businesses like it successful.
A Toilet That Flushes
Though the first evidence of flushing toilets comes from the late 1500s and in some civilizations even earlier, the idea wasn’t widely adopted until the mid-19th Century. Using water and pipes to dispose of waste from inside homes was an idea that was certainly ahead of its time.
The Ability to Buy Things and PayLater
The concept of credit has been around for centuries in different forms. But aside from a few companies who had bestowed the gift of credit on only their most loyal or affluent customers, no one had been able to successfully maintain a revolving credit system until Bank of America launched its BankAmericard in the 1950s.
Renting Your Home to Strangers
Airbnbis still a growing business that plenty of consumers are wary of. But the company has now amassed over 40 million guests and renters. Just a few years ago, renting out a place to stay for a few nights was a business reserved traditional hotels or bed and breakfasts. Today, renting out your living space has become a cottage industry.
The Ability to Travel Through the Air
You’re likely already familiar with the story of the Wright Brothers and their glider flights that few thought would work. But even when companies like Boeing began offering passenger flights, few thought the concept would take off as much as it has.
A Machine That Dispenses Food and Drinks
The first vending machines in the U.S. sold packs of gum on subway platforms.And the Thomas Adams company, which owned those machines, had to add little games and moving figures to provide incentives for people to buy. Now, vending machines that serve everything from coffee to Doritos are a common occurrence and no incentive is needed to attract customers on the go.
Even just a few years ago, entrepreneurs seeking funding for their businesses had to pitch traditional investors or VCs who would often gain an interest in the business. Though there were a few companies and sites that used similar methods, Kickstarter’s advent in 2009 brought the idea, and name, of crowdfunding to the forefront .
Injections that Prevent Disease
Injecting a small amount of a disease into you in the hopes that it will prevent you from catching that disease sounds like the definition of crazy. But since the first vaccinations in the early colonial days, diseases like smallpox and polio have been eradicated or all but eliminated .
Glasses were working just fine for people with less-than-perfect eyesight before modern contact lenses came along in the 1970s. Though there had been earlier models made of glass and hard plastic, plenty of people still didn’t like the idea of lenses actually going over their eyeballs. In fact, some still don’t. But that hasn’t stopped contact lenses from gaining popularity.
A Site Where Anyone Can Sell Anything
By now, you know its possible to purchase basically anything online. But that was still a revolutionary idea when eBay (originally called AuctionWeb) launched in 1995. The site didn’t really take off until January 1997, when it hosted 2 million auctions, compared with just 250,000 in all of 1996.