Thoughts on week 1 of The Enterprise Shed: Making Ideas Happen

This week the Enterprise Shed: Making Ideas Happen MOOC kicked off. It’s run by Newcastle University, and last year I joined the course as a participant. This year, I’m a mentor for ShedTech: Technology and Engineering and as I’m located in Tasmania, I’m mostly online when it’s late evening in the UK. There are six other mentors in other areas of interest; ShedArts: Arts Crafts and Culture, ShedBusiness: Business, Sheducation: Education, ShedEnvironment: Environment, ShedHealth: Health and Wellbeing, ShedSocial: Social and Community, as well as the lead Sheducator, Katie Wray and Nuala Davis who is coordinating the behind the scenes activity. My role is mainly to welcome people and encourage them to talk about their ideas and how they might make them a reality. That means how they may better describe and modify their idea, come up with further ideas, share them with others and help to identify people who will help them to take the idea further.

Note: some of the links are on the Futurelearn platform and you need to be logged in to see the content. The course is free and you’ll be able to join until about the 10th of March.

Over the last week, I’ve made about 80 comments to people, ranging from quick “Hi x and welcome” to longer comments about jobs, education, idea generation, technology, and general encouragement. Some of those posts started to reference each other and include links, so I thought it might be handy to bring them out here.

A common comment was what happens if someone steals my idea?.

My response was;

A podcast (6 minutes) goes into just this “What to do if someone steals your website” and James Altucher says “No one can compete with you being you. If you have the passion and the enthusiasm for your business, then they’ll never be able to beat you”.

Many people are wondering about changing their job or career, and the course is one way in which they can ‘test the water’

My comment to one person was;

You’re in luck – this is probably the best time for people like you who want to move onto doing something else, the flexibility of Internet tools makes it far easier to do that now than previously. There are many options; firstly – do this course :), you’ll find many like minded people here, so do respond in comments and follow those who interest you, secondly – there are groups such as the ChooseYourself Facebook group that are populated by people who are looking to create their own career and (as the name says) not waiting for someone else to ‘Choose Them’ for the new job, the promotion or whatever – they are doing it themselves. I’m in that group and it’s very rewarding, thirdly – absorb some of the flood of information out there on these topics – I gave a list of podcasts on another (FutureLearn) thread , but I’d also recommend things from Tim Ferriss (4 hour work week) as he’s very practical too. Finally, anything by Seth Godin is worth reading – he recognises the world of work has changed dramatically and is on a mission to help others realise that.

Here’s the FutureLearn comment with the list of podcasts for those not taking the course;

….I’d recommend almost all James Altucher’s podcasts – he’s a serial entrepreneur, shares his ideas, is very contrarian, has an easy writing style and has a good sense of humour too.

And in a twist of serendipity, the podcast he released yesterday is all about “How to turn your idea into a (successful) business

His most recent podcast series is with Stephen Dubner (Freakonomics) called ‘Question of the Day‘ (usually less than 20mins) – lots of business and entrepreneur-related stuff there.

My favourite though is “Ask Altucher“, usually less than 20 minutes, one a single topic. Sadly, not updated anymore, but a wealth! of good advice there.

Other people were asking about how to find audiences etc. and to them I’ve been suggesting they use Facebook ads as a simple and inexpensive way to find out who is out there, and whether a market exists for the product or service. My post from last year has some details of how you might use Facebook for that purpose.

There were people questioning the current educational model, and to them I suggested Seth Godin, James Altucher and Peter Thiel (I should also have added Peter Diamandis).

General Links to podcasts, books, apps etc.

I sifted through the comments I made and extracted out some of the links I talked about, I’ve added a few more in here for completeness. Hope this helps!

Don’t forget that all these people have blogs, podcasts, twitter accounts etc where a lot of their thoughts are available for free.

Kevin Kelly – a thousand true fans – talks about 1000 fans being enough for an income, and also that better technology is the answer to poor or no technology.

Claudia Azula Altucher – Become an idea machine – delightful book that helps you get into the habit of writing down 10 ideas a day, essential to exercise your ‘brain muscle’ and help you get better at writing and developing ideas.

Seth Godin – updated almost every day with pithy commentary on doing your work. Seth has written a lot of very good books; I’d say, based on what I’ve read of comments on the course so far, the ones of most relevance are probably Linchpin, Your Turn, The Dip and Tribes, but honestly, all his work is well worth reading.

James Altucher – I came across James’ work by accident and have devoured most of what he’s written since then. His book Choose Yourself helped me when I was deciding to change my own career and it’s so popular it has a Facebook group as well – the group is closed, but you just need to request access. James also got me into listening to Podcasts (I use Overcast – it’s got some good features).

Tim Ferriss does some superb, in-depth (1hr+) podcasts with some very interesting people. He recently talked to Seth Godin, which was exceptional. Tim does detiled show notes, with links and cues into specific places in the podcast – highly recommended.

Peter Diamandis is perhaps best-known for being the originator of the X-PRIZE which was initially known for putting private space exploits on the map, but which has now expanded into many different areas. He also co-authored Bold and Abundance, two books that budding entrepreneurs should really know about. He co-hosts an excellent podcast at Exponential Wisdom where the topics (usually about 20 minutes) range from innovation to robotics to AI to disruption to education. Highly recommended.

Stephen Pressfield’s The War of Art, is an exceptional book centred around the defeating of “Resistance”, the internal, eternal voice that is always knocking us. Seth Godin refers to a similar thing, calling it the Lizard Brain, and this video on “Quieting the Lizard Brain” is well worth watching.

I’d also highly recommend watching social psychologist Amy Cuddy’s TED talk Your body language shapes who you are, which is a superb presentation on the science of “faking it till you’re making it” and would be very helpful for people who might be lacking in confidence.

It’s been a really interesting and rewarding time and I’m looking forward to more of the same next week!

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