Shed Simove – the Ideas Man
Shed Simove – the Ideas Man – is performer, author, entrepreneur and motivational speaker on creativity and innovation. He’s turned many of his own ideas into money-making products, building up an impressive range of novelty gifts, like the ‘Sound Machine’ (a small box with buttons that makes all kinds of noises), the ‘Not So Smart Watch’ (a wipe clean watch that’s packaged with with four wipe-clean pens, so you can draw anything on your mini white board) or a book titled, ‘What Every Man Thinks About Apart From Sex` that contains two hundred totally blank pages.
You’ve created many very successful products from scratch – can anyone do this?
Shed Simove: Yes, absolutely. I’ve studied ideas and how they can become action. I`m fascinated by humans, we’re the only animals in the animal kingdom that can think forward into the future and plan a complex idea, then work out the steps to make it happen. What is particularly interesting is why some people act on their idea and some people don´t…
What would be the process to act on an idea and make it successful?
Shed Simove: Firstly, the realisation that social pressure sometimes holds us back, because we’re sensitive creatures. If you’re worried about what people think of you, then on one hand, that´s a good trait to have, because it means you’re empathic and a decent human being. But on the other hand, being emotionally intelligent is a double-edged sword, because often it makes you criticise yourself. This is one reason why men may put themselves forward more in business because I believe women are generally more introspective and emotionally intelligent.
Also, you always have to keep in mind that most people don’t even notice what you do in life or business. So, that’s a helpful and freeing realisation, because even if something you try goes ‘wrong’, most people are so wrapped up in their own lives, they won’t notice. Even if they do notice, they´ll admire you for trying. And actually, success is never black or white anyway, so it’s not even correct to use the word ‘wrong’. Success and life is never so clear cut as ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ – and you never really fail when you try something new. You simply learn and get closer to eventual success down the line.
What would be the first step if you have an idea?
Shed Simove: The most important habit is to write all your ideas down or store them in your phone or computer. The second most important thing is to bring an idea you’re excited about to life in a tangible way. When an idea is in your head, it´s very fragile, it could be forgotten or it could be easily extinguished by somebody saying: ‘That´s not a good idea!’.
If you write your idea down first, and you later still really believe in it, then you need to bring it to life with a 2D graphic (it’s easy to find a good value graphic designer on the internet on websites like Fiverr) or even with a 3D prototype. This gives the idea power and allows other people to help you with it. You can do this for any product idea – or even a service. As soon as you bring an idea to life visually, you add some permanence to it and give it a higher status – both in your mind and in the minds of others, which helps it grow.
Great. What are the next steps to bring an idea to life?
Shed Simove: You should now utilise all the wonderful resources – and people – around you to help you bring your idea fully to life. The internet allows us to meet and contact people who have lots of different skill sets, so you can fill any skill gaps you have, by teaming up with them or hiring them. By showing other people your visuals or prototypes, you can clearly communicate your idea, and then work with them to bring your idea into the world.
To make an idea successful, ‘persistence’ is often given as key factor. What do you think?
Shed Simove: Persistence is important, and your own persistence can be tapped into more easily if you choose the ideas you work on very carefully. It´s incredibly important to monitor your thoughts to notice out what you love about life, what excites you, what really gets your heart pumping. It’s also enormously helpful to train yourself to be aware of what you’re good at or when you do well in any situation – and mentally make a note of this when it happens. Have people praised you for something? When they did, did what you do also give you happiness and fulfillment? Then, maybe you can make a business out of what you did. Any business, any product or service that you are trying to create, will be accompanied by challenges. So, in order to be able to hurdle over those challenges, you need to make sure that when you start any project, you feel hugely excited about what you’re doing and that you constantly think about the end result. I believe you can stay excited if you’re working on something that you’re passionate about. So it’s really important to choose the ideas you work on carefully.
How do you chose the products you yourself work on?
Shed Simove: For the past twenty-five years, my goal was to reach a position where I’d be fortunate enough to focus on ideas that amuse me, excite me or give me fulfillment. Many of the products I create are very childish and smutty, but they make myself chuckle and the thought that they eventually go out into the world and people react to them, laugh at them or enjoy then, both pleases and motivates me.
One of my new creations is actually a ‘serious’ idea. Shocking, eh! It’s an app called ‘tilt swap’ that allows you to swap contact information with anyone in two seconds, without the nuisance of exchanging business cards. When you use ‘tilt swap’, all your contact information gets instantly embedded into the other person’s address book on their phone or computer, and you instantly receive their details into your address book too.
Another motivator for me is that when I deliver my keynote speeches to companies around the world, sometimes I unlock certain parts of the brain for the people in the audience. This is hugely gratifying. My aim with the presentations I give is for the audience to see their world and company slightly differently after watching me speak, and also that they’ll receive the encouragement, energy and useful techniques they need to create a new idea for their business or for themselves.
You have a broad field of interest, what idea challenges are ahead of you?
Shed Simove: The world is so exciting and I have lots of creativity to give! I´d like to work in movies, I´d like to direct and start my own TV show one day, as I used to work in TV and still adore the medium.
What delights you about being alive in this day and age?
Shed Simove: The internet. The web allows us to easily and quickly find a factory in China or a coder in Poland, so that we can work with talented people to make our ideas come to life. Plus, it then aloes gives you the opportunity to tell the whole world about your idea once you’ve made it happen. Amazing! So, now, you’re only ever a few clicks away from finding a collaborator who you can either pay or partner with, so you can turn your ideas into reality. It’s a wonderful, empowering time to live…and I wish you every success with your ideas.