Reject the hunt for BIG ideas, look for this instead

For a long time, we’ve created this myth in our culture that all innovation comes from big ideas. We’ve created legends around “visionary” leaders who were seemingly struck by a thought that helped them change the world.

But in reality, most innovation doesn’t come from big ideas, it comes from novel approaches to fairly common ideas or problems.

Netflix is a great example. Today, it operates in over 190 countries and close to 73 million of its 130 million subscribers are outside the US. Earlier this year, its international revenues exceeded its domestic revenues for the first time. This is a huge achievement for a company who was only in the US before 2010. Netflix had a big idea: take streaming video worldwide. But the idea, although huge in nature, wasn’t really novel at the time. Amazon Prime was already established in Germany and India. Countries like France had local players who were dominating as first movers. However, in the end, it was Netflix that conquered with more subscribers worldwide than any other pure streaming service. And the way it did it was not by having the best big idea, but by having the best approach.

Unlike any player at the time, Netflix approached growth through a unique three-stage expansion that focused heavily on what the company did and learned from those markets. Here’s what the process looked like:

Netflix did not enter all markets at once. It carefully selected its first expansion in terms of geography and psychographic behaviors. First, it entered Canada which is geographically close and shares many similarities with content consumption patterns in America. They were able to play the same game with the same content while taking their time to learn the regulatory parts of the expansion, which helped them develop the capabilities to replicate that process in other markers.

Netflix then did the same thing again in another country with a similar regulatory landscape, but with different content preferences, which helped them develop a process for securing regional content deals and curating local-language programming.

Drawing on the lesson from its first phase, it then amped up its footprint to 50 countries. They chose the markets by attractiveness, shared similarities with test markets, and the presence of available customers. During this stage, Netflix focused on gathering data and making investments into geographically-focused content. It continuously used the data to optimize its programming and foreign products.

The lessons from that second phase accelerated Netflix’s reach to 190 countries, using everything it learned from the first two phases. It had gained expertise in the content people prefer, the marketing they respond to, and how the company needed to organize itself. From there it focused on adding more languages, subtitles, and optimizing its personalization algorithms to make it the very best choice in each market. It used every single learning to work with and respond to the new markets it entered.

And that’s how it grew to be the #1 streaming service worldwide. Did you notice how little of that had to do with big ideas? What about how much “the process” factored into its success?

So should we be on the hunt for big ideas? I’m not sure that this is even the right question. Whether or not we should be hunting for big ideas, the fact is that it’s how you execute that will differentiate you from everyone else. That’s how you win. What are you going to do about it?

Reject the hunt for BIG ideas, look for novel approaches to fairly common ideas or problems instead.


  1. You are so cool! I do not suppose I’ve read through a single thing like
    this before. So nice to discover someone with genuine thoughts on this subject.
    Really.. thank you for starting this up. This site
    is something that is required on the web, someone with a little originality!

  2. If some one needs expert view concerning blogging and site-building then i suggest him/her to go to
    see this weblog, Keep up the nice work.

  3. I think what you published made a great deal of sense.
    But, what about this? suppose you added a little information? I ain’t saying your information isn’t solid, however suppose you added something to
    maybe get a person’s attention? I mean Reject the hunt for BIG ideas, look for this instead – Eduardo Lopez is a little plain. You might glance at Yahoo’s home page and see how they
    create post titles to grab viewers to click.
    You might try adding a video or a picture or two to grab readers interested about
    what you’ve got to say. In my opinion, it might bring
    your posts a little bit more interesting.

  4. This is very worthwhile, you’re a very skilled blogger.I have joined your rss feed and look forward to reading more of your excellent post.Also, I have shared your website in my social networks!

  5. My brother suggested I might like this blog. He was once entirely right.
    This publish truly made my day. You can not consider simply how a
    lot time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

  6. Heya are using WordPress for your blog platform?

    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you require any coding expertise to make your own blog?
    Any help would be really appreciated!

  7. I do not even know how I ended up right here,
    but I believed this put up used to be great. I don’t understand who you are but definitely you are going
    to a well-known blogger when you are not already.

  8. Thanks for your marvelous posting! I genuinely enjoyed reading
    it, you will be a great author. I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and will come
    back in the future. I want to encourage one to continue
    your great posts, have a nice day!

  9. Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It really useful & it helped me
    out much. I hope to give something back and help others
    like you aided me.

  10. I’ve read several good stuff here. Definitely price bookmarking
    for revisiting. I wonder how so much attempt you put to make this kind of wonderful informative web site.

  11. With havin so much written content do you ever run into any
    problems of plagorism or copyright infringement? My website has a lot of completely
    unique content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of
    it is popping it up all over the web without my authorization. Do
    you know any techniques to help prevent content from being stolen? I’d really appreciate it.

  12. Hi, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if you
    get a lot of spam responses? If so how do you stop it, any plugin or anything you can suggest?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any assistance is very much appreciated.

  13. I simply could not go away your web site prior to suggesting that I actually loved the standard info an individual provide
    to your guests? Is going to be again ceaselessly in order to
    check up on new posts

  14. That is very attention-grabbing, You’re an overly professional blogger.
    I’ve joined your rss feed and stay up for in the hunt for extra of your fantastic post.
    Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks

  15. Thanks on your marvelous posting! I actually enjoyed reading it, you
    are a great author.I will make certain to bookmark your blog and will
    often come back in the foreseeable future. I want to encourage you to continue your
    great work, have a nice day!

  16. Attractive portion of content. I simply stumbled upon your
    blog and in accession capital to assert that I get in fact enjoyed account your weblog posts.
    Anyway I will be subscribing in your augment and even I achievement you
    get entry to consistently fast.

  17. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems
    as though you relied on the video to make your point. You clearly know what
    youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something informative to read?

  18. Great post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am
    impressed! Very useful information particularly the last part 🙂 I care for such information much.
    I was looking for this certain information for a very
    long time. Thank you and good luck.

  19. My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find a lot of your post’s to be what precisely
    I’m looking for. Do you offer guest writers to write content available for you?

    I wouldn’t mind producing a post or elaborating on most of the subjects you write regarding here.
    Again, awesome site!

  20. Good day! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from an established blog.
    Is it very difficult to set up your own blog?
    I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast.

    I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m not sure where to start.
    Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Thank you

  21. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this
    topic to be actually something that I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post,
    I’ll try to get the hang of it!

  22. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear.

    Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway,
    just wanted to say great blog!

  23. Hi there, I found your web site by way of Google
    while looking for a similar matter, your site came up, it appears to be like great.
    I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.
    Hello there, just changed into alert to your blog thru Google,
    and found that it is truly informative. I am gonna be
    careful for brussels. I will appreciate should you proceed this in future.
    Many other folks will likely be benefited from your writing.

  24. Hello There. I found your weblog the usage of msn. That is a very well written article.
    I will make sure to bookmark it and return to learn more of your helpful information. Thank you for the post.
    I will certainly comeback.

  25. What’s Going down i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It positively useful and it has helped me
    out loads. I’m hoping to contribute & help other customers like
    its helped me. Good job.

  26. Howdy! This is my first comment here so I just
    wanted to give a quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy
    reading your posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same
    topics? Thanks a lot!

  27. I’ve been browsing online more than 3 hours today,
    yet I never found any interesting article like yours.
    It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all web
    owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be
    much more useful than ever before.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.