Crazy people build the future

Automologist, LILY, wants us to give crazy inventions a second glance... If you take a look at all the inventions around you, none of i...

Automologist, LILY, wants us to give crazy inventions a second glance...

If you take a look at all the inventions around you, none of it emerged PERFECT from the beginning. (See Evolution vs Revolution). Not many people can start a ‘revolution’ and many times the revolutionists are labeled as crazy; the latecomers then come into the picture to build on the earlier inventions (the revolution), turning them into ‘evolutions’ and earning themselves the label of ‘inventor’.

If someone asks you to invest in a business that utilises the car exhaust to cook hamburgers, what would your response be? What about setting up a car rental business to cater to just drunk customers? Many of us would just brush off the idea or laugh at it. But perhaps we should not be hasty and so quick to judge, and take a closer look at some of the early inventions.

1. One-wheeled motorbike

If you manufacture this invention in today’s market, you will definitely find buyers; many of the uber wealthy are bored with the toys and hobby items that they already own.

2. Swimming floats from bike tyres

The modern swimming float uses the same theory as the early-day ‘revolutionary’ invention, but today’s version is less comical looking yet still functions the same.

3. A bicycle for land and water

This amphibious bicycle, besides having an odd look about it, shares the same function as some vehicles in use today. Singapore uses amphibious buses to carry tourists around the city, on land and on lake.

4. All-terrain vehicle

The contemporary equivalent would be the four-wheel drive or cruiser, with the differences being the many more wheels and the lack of safety features in this version pictured above.

5. Early-day GPS

The GPS ‘revolution’ has evolved the technology into different forms on a variety of digital devices.

When Apple first gave a sneak peak of its iCar some years ago, the public as well as the industry players had mixed feeling about it. The car is a new industry for Apple; it is difficult to be ‘i-made’, requires high investment and requires consumers to buy into the idea of a car from Apple. If I want a carbonated drink, I first think of Coca-Cola; if I want instant noodle, I think of Maggie Mee and so on, depending on the deep-rooted social culture in different countries. If you think of buying a car, would you think ‘Apple’? I believe that is something that Apple has thought through and they have their strategic plan for it - time is all it takes to prove their ‘invention’.

I like the attitude of Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of Nissan-Renault. He said, “The fact that a company outside of the auto industry wants to do electric car is refreshing.” Nissan-Renault sold its 200,000th electric car in November 2014; they are much more ahead in this industry compared to Apple, who target the car to be ready by 2020. I’d say that Ghosn is wise – a wise CEO will be thrilled and start planning for 2020 with a strategy to welcome the day that the customers discover its product is still the best. If Nissan-Renault has prepared well, the new situation would make it the benchmark of the industry, making its marque shine ever brighter.

The lesson from this: do not laugh at others when their inventions appear silly and never give up when your invention is called "stupid"; work on the idea and let evolution happen. If you do not give up, a stupid revolution can become a clever invention, and you will raise the bar for the industry standard! The question that starts with “why” is never a stupid question; this word has helped so many great inventors to achieve greatness.

In fact, the inventor of the word “why” is a brilliant person himself!


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