There are some terrific writings on the general topic of Entrepreneurialism on two Blogs I follow, Tom Evslin's Fractals of Change and Brad Feld's Feld Thoughts, but I had a discussion with a friend of mine that got me thinking about this topic.
My friend and I were discussing the creative process, certainly an important part of the entrepreneurial game. My friend mentioned that he was always interested in the connections I made between different things, and that he felt this was an important creative instinct that he found common to the entrepreneurs he's known. Aside from being flattered, I began to ponder this. Certainly connections between differing things, the idea of putting two completely different concepts together to form something useful, or something new is a part of the creative process. And as I thought about it, it certainly can be an important part of the entreprenerial process as well.
So let's think about some examples. Google, every entrepreneurs favorite example, has some good creative connections. Like any search or directory portal company, Google has connected many different activities around one core idea - use search to drive advertising impressions. This has led to some very interesting and unusual connections. Obvious connections exist; things like Desktop Search or website-specific search capability. These led to the introduction of search-based products to search a user's PC using Google's interface, or to search a specific website by limiting Google to
that domain. Pretty straight forward.
But the more interesting and unusual connections are the ones I'm thinking about in this post. Who would've thought that Googles plans might include the unusual use of Blogger Tools, Digital Photo Management, Online Chat Applications for Digital Photo discussions with your friends, and others. Who would imagine these as core to Google. But they are. They all tie back to Google's core mission and connect people to Google in very creative ways.
But there are even more interesting examples of companies that have combined different ideas into something new and creative that's useful in driving the company forward. More on this in another post.