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Creative Genius & the Entrepreneurial Mind: Do You Run an “Inspired Business”?

March 24, 2010

Entrepreneurial At Age Eight. This morning I was having coffee with a business owner, a graduate of the Carnegie Mellon Heinz School of Management.  At 48, he owns 4 businesses, including a successful construction company with about 12 employees and a real estate holdings company.

Sitting in the cafe area of the Southside Holiday Inn, I asked this business owner how he started his construction business.  He exercised his entrepreneurial muscle in college, buying a truck so that he could buy antiques that he would then refinish and sell.   But then he said, no wait, his entrepreneurial mind starting clicking even as far back as second grade.

In second grade,  this business owner would buy one long rope piece of bubble gum for a nickel.  You remember the strands of pink bubble gum with the wrappers (apparently called bubs daddies)?  He would cut the rope into thirds and sell each piece for a quarter!!!!  %1500 profit margin!  He said this type of commerce was forbidden in his elementary school;  so, he kept a stash of the rope bubble gum fastened under his pant legs around his calves with a gum band (for non-Pittsburghers “gum band” means a rubber band).  He said his calves would sweat with the gum band and plastic but nevertheless his merchandise was still saleable.

I asked him how he capitalized his bubble gum business and what he did as an 8 year-old with his proceeds.  He said he reinvested.  We laughed.


Four weeks ago, I was sitting at a conference room table at a fashion house in NYC, chitchatting with a very successful fashion designer.  I asked her when she started designing.  She said it all started when she was maybe 11 or 12; she and her girlfriends would go to KMart and play a game.  Each girl has to pick really dowdy, plain or homely clothes for the other girl to “REWORK” with accessories, folding the sleeves, etc.  This fashion designer is now 38 and the creative designer for a a couture line that distributes throughout the world and shows at every NY Fashion Week.


These stories prompted me to write this blog post.  Often entrepreneurs/business owners start or work in businesses that enable them to tap into what seems like their innate creative genius or savvy, business acumen.

When does an entrepreneur start thinking like an entrepreneur?  What were early signs of your creative or business genius?  What inspired you to do what you do?  At what age?  Stories are welcome.

To spice up this article I started googling “business genius”, “creative genius”, “fashion genius.”  For “business genius,” I found references to Walmart’s Sam Walton, of course, and I also found this gem of an article/website by Peter Fisk. (Peter Fisk)

He writes:

What do the most successful businesses do differently than mediocre ones? They see the big picture. They see things differently and do different things. They connect the unconnected, challenge the conventions, look for new opportunities, and are not afraid to try new ideas. They are inspired businesses, with a sense of “genius” about them.

See also (Peter Fisk videos re: how to create the inspired business)

Peter Fisk provides a list of examples:

• Apple transforming markets with iPods and iPhones

• Cirque du Soleil reinventing traditional markets with creative flair

• Crocs the craze started by three men in a fishing boat

• Current TV user generated content revolutionizes media

• Diesel staying cool by being a step ahead of the crowd

• Disney connecting digital and physical worlds together

• GE “ecomagination” transforms a business giant

• Google new ways to work and have a great lifestyle too • Gucci Italians reject sex for a more sophisticated style

• Nike constantly transforming markets in your own vision

• Red Bull the Austrian who turned a tonic into liquid cocaine

• Second Life virtual reality that reflect customer aspirations

Can you name any other examples of business genius?  Is your business an “inspired business” with a sense of “genius” about it?


When I googled “creative genius” I found these articles.  SEE Creative Genius Mindset: The Essential Qualities for “Outside the Box” Thinking

SEE ALSO How to Become a Creative Genius

One Comment leave one →
  1. Amber permalink
    March 24, 2010 5:46 pm

    Great article, Salene. Very inspiring!

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