“One Simple Idea” Teaches You to Turn Dreams into Profit


"One Simple Idea: Turn Your Dreams Into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work" is a creative person's guide to making money from "renting" your ideas to companies that are looking to create new products and services.

"One Simple Idea"

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“One Simple Idea: Turn Your Dreams into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work”, teaches everyday people how to leverage their ideas into a profitable licensing business. The book was created by the guy who taught Tim Ferriss (“Four Hour Workweek”) a thing or two about business,

What is “One Simple Idea” About

The key concept behind “One Simple Idea: Turn Your Dreams Into a Licensing Goldmine While Letting Others Do the Work” is open innovation. Authors Stephen Key and Colleen Sell argue it creates opportunities for everyday consumers with a smart idea to launch the next big product.

Open innovation is an open-door policy where outsiders (aka anyone not in the R&D department) can offer product or service suggestions, enhancements, or inventions to a business for consideration.

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While this concept of offering a product idea to a company is not entirely new, Web 2.0 has significantly expanded the role of the ordinary consumer in the product development process. This process has been used effectively to help many companies develop new products and services using creative brainpower at a lower cost. Innovation is crucial to survival in this market and more and more companies are willing to look anywhere to get it.

That being said, “One Simple Idea” isn’t focused on helping businesses utilize open innovation. It’s about the Web 2.0 audience — the people who aren’t in a businesses’ R&D department — and how they can turn their ideas into profit. Licensing, Key and Sell argue, is a way for everyday people with creative or mechanical talent, to invent without the messy stuff (waiting for a patent, setting up distribution channels, figuring out marketing, etc.)

Licensing ideas can also be a win for businesses. Licensing, instead of owning an idea, allows a business to experiment with a ready-made concept, which is radically less expensive than starting research and development from scratch. Why not, as Key and Sell suggest, get ready-made ideas from the same market that uses your product or service?

As the book emphasizes, businesses already have the infrastructure. They just need good ideas to keep them growing.

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The book comes from the perspective of someone who knows the process only too well.

Stephen Key (@stephenkeymedia) is an author, columnist, course instructor, and licensing and product development expert. Key has worked with many major brands to design world-famous toys (Lazer Tag, Michael Jordan Wall Ball) and products. He has filed over two dozen patents and twenty licenses over the past 30 years.

Key’s co-author is Colleen Sell, a writer and editor who has published over 20 books and edited more than 150 of them.

What Was Best About “One Simple Idea”

The best part of the book is that it opens up an alternate path for both the inventor/entrepreneur and the business in need of R & D. Instead of taking on the cost of developing, marketing and distributing a product yourself, you can partner with companies that already have these resources. Those companies can also benefit from working with small inventor/entrepreneurs like you instead of waiting to develop one internally. These shifts may be what a business in the Web 2.0 era needs to remain competitive and in sync with its target market.

What Could Have Been Done Differently

Key and Sell do an excellent job of outlining the basic milestones in bringing an idea to reality, along with providing key insider insights about the process. If a person has some experience with product development, this book is a great guide. If that person is starting from scratch, it might be a little harder. For that audience, more information on vetting that initial idea and how to conduct the initial market research might be helpful.

Why Read “One Simple Idea”

“One Simple Idea” is a great specific fit for two categories of people, product managers and inventors. If you are involved in product management in any way, “One Simple Idea” provides experience-based insights into the licensing and patent process.

If you are an inventor (the book has a broad sense of the term), “One Simple Idea” provides experience-based insights into another process. That is the process of finding an alternate route to getting your product to market (namely licensing).

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1 Comment ▼

Charles Franklin Charles Franklin is a Book Reviewer for Small Business Trends. He has a background as a professional reviewer, and is also a content provider and customer relations professional.

One Reaction
  1. I’ll say that I am a fan of Tim Ferris’s work. So I think that this book will teach me a thing or two. I also love the title. I think that it is different from other general books out there. But I’ll read some reviews to see.