4 Crazy Ideas that Worked

By Mauricio Metri.

It is fairly common that entrepreneurs are called crazy people due to the crazy ideas that they come up with. Some of them work and some of them do not. It could be that the execution was not done properly or that it was ahead of its time or some other reasons.

We love crazy, so in honor of those crazy ideas that worked, I present to you my favorite ones:

1. Clean City Law

Imagine a big city with literally no advertisement at all. Sounds like part of our imagination or a dream far from becoming real, but since 2006 São Paulo, Brazil got rid of every single billboard sign. At first, it sounded completely crazy… How can you just erase a multi-million industry where virtually every business in town takes part? Everyone in the city would collapse without advertisement. But where some people saw a big threat, others saw opportunity. Mouth to mouth, social media, and guerrilla campaigns took over traditional advertisement methods. Since the ban, the São Paulo citizens enjoy a city free of“visual pollution.”

2. Tesla Motors Inc.

Elon Musk is known for being one of those guys who push things to the boundaries of impossible while trying to change the world. In 2003, he had the crazy simple idea that electric cars could be better than traditional gas-powered ones. The company launched the Tesla Roadster in 2008, a car that makes 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds with an ion-lithium battery that lasts for about 242 miles. 9 years later the owners of Tesla cars count with a “superchargers network” across the US, Europe and Asia Pacific popular routes to fill up their car batteries during long trips.

3. Netflix

Who hasn’t heard the tale of Netflix’s CEO being turned down by the now extinct Blockbuster Company? The idea that people would rather pay online for viewing content than going to a brick-and-mortar store to get DVDs (or Blu-Rays) was just too revolutionary at the time.

As an entertainment platform, Netflix has proven to successfully adapt over the years to a highly volatile industry. It started with streaming third party content, and now is producing its “Netflix Originals” with big budgets like traditional cinema and television projects. Netflix is becoming such a BIG DEAL that old-school Hollywood directors and acclaimed festivals are debating Netflix non-traditional inclusion terms to the movie production industry (and they can say whatever reason they want, but it seems like they feel a little threatened).

4. Bitcoin

Satoshi Nakamoto’s intangible virtual money made it to the top of our list for defying a 2,600 year-old tradition of physical money currencies. Bitcoin appeared in 2009 and has a key feature that makes it real different, and crazy, compared to traditional money: there’s no government or financial institution behind Bitcoin’s control. Its value is based on an open source, P2P-like, algorithm software. As of today, Bitcoin remains an extremely volatile currency and it’s long-term future seems kind of unstable but 1 bitcoin is worth around USD $2,700.