Original anime graphic tees and posters
Original anime graphic tees and posters

It's amazing what we learn by doing. Seriously you learn a lot by attempting something new. For instance you learn that all your initial assumptions about a prospect were wrong or slightly off the mark.

Before I took the leap of faith with my brothers into the Boomslank adventure, I would always meet with my two best friends to brainstorm business ideas. I recall always constraining my entrepreneurship ideas to something innovative. One of my ideas was a bit ambitious (I still think it is an awesome idea) . It was based on improving the heavy traffic situation that always occurs during quitting time for commuters. I realized that the congestions were a result of inefficient use of the available highways. Let me explain.

You see there is always more than one way to get to your destination. Is just that one of these routes is fastest. And it just so happens everyone else wants to use the fastest route. As a result the fastest route is suddenly the slowest route. All of the sudden the alternative routes that were less attractive under normal conditions are now much faster due to under utilization.

So the meat of the idea was collecting data on the number of drivers on the road at the time. Through the use of sensors that detect the cars' speeds on the highways. So a comparison of the cars' average speed to the posted speed limit would tell a driver which routes would provide the quickest means to get home. Cool idea isn't it? :D . Don't ask me about monetizing that idea. I think it was one of the main reasons we signed it off as "not feasible". That and the obvious startup costs. One of my buddies in this exercise would always come up with ideas that he felt had very defined business models. Some of his ideas were rather funny. He once suggested that we go into the waste management business. He defended his suggestion by saying "Everyone needs the trash taken out. It can't be that difficult to get rid of trash." . Then I would respond to his idea saying "Well, I don't want to spend my day collecting disgusting trash for strangers." then cap it off with a joke saying "May be you should start a basket weaving business. Everyone could use a basket every now and then" And with that remark, an argument would ensue. Meanwhile the other guy would either approve of the idea or mark off the idea as less likely to succeed. He rarely brought any memorable business ideas to the table. At the end of each one of these sessions, we all came to the same conclusion that it didn't matter what ideas we thought of, if none of us were willing to take the risk to see it through. We all knew that by diagnosing our ideas as less likely to succeed, we felt no shame about not having the guts to take on an idea and see it through.On one of these routine idea brainstorm sessions, I brought up the idea of selling my brother's art on t-shirts and other cool mediums. Of course this idea is exactly what Boomslank is now. But back then my pal (waste management idea guy) slashed the idea apart. He went on chanting "Clothing lines are a dime a dozen! Your market share will be diluted due to the saturation of independent clothing lines out there!" And with a sigh of relief I agreed thanking him for sparing me the possibility of actually trying to start the business.For some reason, this idea of starting a clothing line based on my kid brother's anime artwork lingered. It never left me. It was like an itch I was trying to ignore. We all know how hard it is to ignore an itch. So I gave in and I scratched. I told myself, to take it one day at a time. I started off slowly through research. Most of all I didn't tell my friends what I was doing. I researched what it took to open an online store, print the shirts and so on. I learned a lot by doing that. And I also made a lot of mistakes. Costly ones. But I am not going to go into details on that. Fast forward through multiple web redesigns and here we are still learning as we go. So far so good.

I guess the moral of the story is that I actually started something I had dreamed about. I stopped dreaming and I went for it. The risks were substantial but not fatal.Till today, I am still thinking of ways to improve Boomslank. And guess what... I try to act on those ideas as quickly as possible.

August 22, 2012 by Justin A
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