Cracking The Code: Turn Small Ideas Into Big Success

Cracking The Code:

Turn Small Ideas Into Big Success

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Every entrepreneur possesses the capabilities to spot the right opportunities and turn them into multi-million dollar businesses. But what does it really take to turn a small idea into a high-growth business?

“The entrepreneurs that are out there in the world that are really successful – they’re not memorizing or repeating an equation; they’re creating the new equations, they’re building the new models. It’s an impossible thing to do with perfection.”

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Amy Wilkinson

Amy Wilkinson has been a White House Fellow for nearly four years doing international trade and economics before she decided to embark on a 5-year research-filled journey of creating a fool-proof handbook to be a creator. Her journey resulted in 10,000 pages of transcripts from interviewing 200 top creators, including Elon Musk of Tesla, SpaceX, and PayPal.

She asked a series of questions and then came up with a pattern recognition to figure out what skills they have in common. Finding and tracking down the founders to interview was the hardest thing Wilkinson had ever done – harder even than working in a high-pressured M&A environment.

What she learned through her research was that anyone can create and scale an idea. She came up with five codes that every single creator that she interviewed already possessed:

Decoding your success

1. Drive for daylight. Focusing on the horizon requires moving beyond the familiar. People’s perspectives on their own progress have profound effects on their accomplishments. “To-Go” thinking refers to how much you have left to go, while “To-Date” thinking refers to how much you’ve done to date. To-Go thinking is what accelerates accomplishment when individuals are committed to a goal.

2. Fly the OODA Loop. OODA stands for: observe, orient, decide, act. The OODA loop is a “framework for making rapid decisions that would ensure success in fast-changing environments.”

3. Fail Wisely. Because failure provokes learning, set a failure ratio to maximize your learning. Being prepared for a certain number of failures allows creators to experiment to find the way forward. Place small bets.

4. Network Minds. It’s the difference in how we think, what perspectives we bring to a problem, and the steps we take to tackle difficult challenges that, when combined, unlock breakthrough results. “By engaging with diverse minds, we become more alert to information, more open to reevaluating our own assumptions, and more attuned to solving the task.”

5. Gift Small Goods. “Creators view caring as a competitive advantage and strengthen ties by paying attention to others’ needs.” Generosity can set off a “chain reaction” because “when reputations spread quickly, cooperation increases.”

“You don’t have to be in a certain city at a certain moment in time. You don’t have to have that many dollars. You don’t have to have a certain degree. These ideas can pop up almost anywhere and across different kinds of pursuits.”

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Now a professor at the Stanford Graduate School Business, Wilkinson – a graduate herself – passed up many unique and rare opportunities in order to write this book. “At the outset, I believed it would matter, and therefore I pursued it. That’s a very common thing for entrepreneurs – regardless of what their pursuit is – you have to believe that it will matter.”

“One of the really important things that entrepreneurs know and that most people are figuring out now is: there is no right answer in a globally linked and technologically-accelerated world. It’s almost impossible to anticipate where an idea is going to go.”

Listen to our interview with Amy on Entrepreneurs En Vogue Podcast get more exclusive insights from Amy Wilkinson on how to be a creator and to discover more details on the 6 essential skills she talks about in her book, The Creator’s Code.

Shannon Matloob

Shannon is a contributor at SWAAY. She has a degree in Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University with a passion identifying and researching other women on the path to greatness.

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