The CEO of a billion-dollar brand shares his best strategy to help anyone find a great business idea

You probably won't have a Eureka! moment. Neil Blumenthal pictured. Neil Blumenthal

There's nothing magical about starting a company. In all likelihood, you will not have a Eureka! moment in which you discover the next world-changing business idea.

That's not to say you won't discover the next world-changing business idea — you'll just have to be proactive about it.

Neil Blumenthal, a cofounder and co-CEO of billion-dollar glasses brand Warby Parker, recommends a specific strategy for finding a business idea. In an interview with Business Insider at the Success Makers Summit in April, hosted by American Express OPEN, Blumenthal explained how it works:

"Every day, write down a few frustrations. And then at the end of the week, you'll have maybe 10 problems. By the end of the month, maybe you have 40 to 50 problems. And then you can spend time thinking about: Is there a viable business in solving any of these everyday frustrations?"

Blumenthal said he and his cofounders didn't use this exact technique — the inspiration for Warby Parker came when cofounder and co-CEO Dave Gilboa lost an expensive pair of glasses. The cofounders asked their friends if they'd ever had a similar experience and discovered that overpaying for glasses was a relatively widespread problem.

But Blumenthal emphasized that "successful entrepreneurs are pretty methodical about the problem they're trying to solve." He went on:

"Sometimes, it's not that they just started it in high school or college, because they've actually needed to live a little and experience a little bit of life to identify where there are problems that need solving.

"For every Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, there's 30 other entrepreneurs that started their business after working for several years."

In other words, coming up with a solid business idea — never mind actually building the business — probably takes more time than you think. A combination of patience and a can-do attitude is a must.


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Finding the Right Balance



What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist. 
― Salman Rushdie 
I am a long-time supporter of beBee USA.  I believe that it has the potential to become the world's premier social media networking and digital self-publishing platform, and I have been outspoken in its promotion and defense. ("Rival Blogging Platforms: beBee Enters the Fray")

However, I am not a beBee "fan" — in the sense that I do not identify so closely with beBee ownership and management that I am moved to take umbrage when someone criticizes the platform or the members of what we all like to think of as the beBee community.

For although I recently accepted a designation as a beBee "Brand Ambassador", I am not so starry-eyed over being such that I feel bound to swarm to the defense of the platform's perceived honor, whenever someone chooses to denigrate it, whether justifiably or otherwise. Especially when such a defensive swarm takes on the flavor of mob action.

For more than a few decades, I've remained stubbornly committed to the principles of free speech and expression. And I try — really hard and especially as a writer — to maintain that commitment, even when I read things with which I vehemently disagree.

One of the main reasons I've been so strongly attracted to beBee as a networking and self-publishing platform is that it is much more open and tolerant of a wide variety of opinion and styles than most competing platforms — in particular, LinkedIn where users are constantly told by other users that certain forms of expression are "not professional" or "too political" or "unacceptably disruptive." 

Consequently, I was dismayed recently to witness an acrimonious exchange on a user's post (call him Author X) and what seemed to me to be an ensuing foray into the territory of censorship and the restriction of free expression.

Everyone is in favor of free speech …  but some people's idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone else says anything back, that is an outrage. 

—  Winston S. Churchill 
For me, the most disturbing aspect of the situation in question was that it occurred on Author X's post, not on the post of any of those who disagreed with him and who eventually banded together to report and ask for the deletion of his comments from the discussion thread.

Let's be very clear. I personally disagreed with a number of the assertions made by Author X in his post, and with several of the points that he made in reply to comments in the discussion thread. I especially took exception to what appeared to me to be his intentionally provocative stance and haughty and arrogant manner of expression.

However, keep in mind that, in this particular case, Author X did not 1) enter the comments thread on another author's post and  2) was, in the main, answering criticisms made in the comments thread of his post. The upshot is that Author X was not disrupting anyone else's conversation, other than his own. 

And as far as I could tell, the sum-total of the substance of the complaints echoed by members of the mob that formed was, to quote from another context a writer-friend of mine and fellow Beezer, Kevin Pashuk,

The complaints are on the order of, "He started it by striking back, when I hit him …  

— Kevin Pashuk on beBee

Which is a pretty good fit for what happened in the case in question. question. 

Author X made what some people readers felt were unfair and derogatory remarks about beBee and some of its Brand Ambassadors. In response, a slew of people jumped onto their high horses and headed into verbal battle in defense of beBee's honor. And they were met in return with, by any reasonable standard, a volley of provocative and insulting replies.

Now, we can discuss ad infinitum what constitutes an abusive statement and what does not. And we can debate how many people need to dance on the head of an I'm-offended pin before a "higher power" needs to step in. But that would be to miss my point entirely.

My point is that, when we're talking about freedom of expression, it doesn't matter how verbally abusive the statements in question may or may not be. For it is only when we are dealing with speech that we detest or find exceedingly offensive, that we need to worry about protecting freedom of expression.

It's now very common to hear people say, "I'm rather offended by that." As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more… than a whine. "I find that offensive" … has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. "I am offended by that." Well, so fucking what…

—  Stephen Fry writing in the Guardian

I suggest to you that a person is "abusive" on social media when he or she :

a) Posts a comment on another's article that aggressively seeks to attack the author of the article personally, or

b) Repeatedly posts comments on the articles of others, which comments are clearly intended to be disruptive, and refuses to cease and desist when asked to do so, or

c) Posts statement or comments that exemplify prejudice and hate, and which are derogatory and defamatory in respect of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, physical attributes, or mental disabilities.  

But a person is not abusive when he or she says or publishes statements that we simply don't like or which make us personally uncomfortable or with which we strongly disagree.

And I suggest to you that the way to deal with people whom we find unpleasant, but who do not cross the line into genuinely abusive rhetoric or disruptive action on social media, is simply to ignore them, their posts, and their comments. (See my previously published "On the Limits of Free Expression")

That someone has the right to do a thing does not mean it is the right thing to do…

― G.K. Chesterton
Understand that I am not in any way defending Author X. In fact, what I saw in his end of the exchange was a deliberate provocation, with, I believe, the goal of eliciting precisely the response that ensued, all in the service of proving a point about beBee and its team boosters.

It is both unfortunate and ironic that Author X got exactly what he was looking for and what he felt he needed in order to make his point.

Without a doubt, some people seem driven on social media to repeatedly cross over the boundaries of civil conversation. Indeed, some appear to enjoy picking fights. But the goal for the rest of us needs to be to strike a balance in our response.

When the rhetoric gets rough, and the exchange becomes essentially nasty, that is not the time to respond with a team (read "mob") mentality.  It is not the time to seek to quash an "opponent's" right to free expression. Rather, it is a time to take a deep breath and recommit ourselves to protecting free speech and expression.

To do anything less, especially to fall into a group or mob mentality in such matters is to set a dangerous precedent.  Since who is to say when the "team" might change its collective mind about what is and what is not acceptable and decide to quash your  —   or my —   right to free expression?  — Phil Friedman


Postscript:  BeBee CEO, Javier Camara Rica, has numerous time said that there is a place for everyone on beBee. As I and another writer-friend of mine, Jim Able, can attest, beBee practices what Javier preaches. (See, for example, "Floats Like a Butterfly, and When It Counts… Stings Like a Bee")

BeBee has to date been imbued with a high level of tolerance and respect for differing, sometimes even alien modes of expression. It is beBee's strength and, I might add, its distinguishing characteristic and main hope for eventual predominance on the social media field of combat. 

My sincere hope is that, in our enthusiasm for all that is good and great about beBee, we do not inadvertently undermine what is beeing accomplished. And I invite you to join me in a conscious effort to avoid falling into an intolerance born of enthusiasm, one that leads us to tar and feather those who break with the perceived party line.— PLF


Author's Notes:  If you found this post interesting and worthwhile and would like to receive notifications of my writings on a regular basis, click the [FOLLOW] button on my beBee profile. Better yet, elect there to follow my blog by email. As a writer-friend of mine says, you can always change your mind later.

Should you be curious about some of my other writings on social media, you're invited to take a look at the following: 

"On Trees, Trolls, Trust and Truth" 

"Self-Ascription, Self-Certification, and Snake Oil"

"BeBee vs beBee: Differentiation Thru Conversation"

Please feel free to "like" and "share" this post and my other articles — whether on beBee, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+, provided only that you credit me properly as the author, and include a live link to my original post. 


About me, Phil Friedman:  With 30 some years background in the marine industry, I've worn numerous hats — as a yacht designer, boat builder, marine operations and business manager, marine industry consultant, marine marketing and communications specialist, yachting magazine writer and editor, yacht surveyor, and marine industry educator. I am also trained and experienced in interest-based negotiation and mediation.

In a previous life, I was formally trained as an academic philosopher and taught logic and philosophy at university.

Before writing comes thinking.  ( The optional-to-read pitch) :   

As a professional writer, editor, university educator, and speaker, with more than 1,000 print and digital publications, I've recently launched an online program for enhancing your expository writing: learn2engage — With Confidence. My mission is to help writers and would-be writers improve their thought and writing, master the logic of discussion, and strengthen their ability to deal with disagreement… all of which I have found to be natural precursors to improved writing.

Phil Friedman
Writer/Editor – Marketer – Ghost Writer – Marine Industry Consultant • Port Royal Group

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Don’t try to micro Manage yourself

Don't try to micro Manage yourself ( We  already have some who do that for us 🤣)

This buzz comes as a reflection of various buzzes on how we Manage ourselves.

Most of us have worked in big organisations and still are.

I bet there hasn't been a day gone by where you haven't beaten yourself up for the quality of your work. And if you didn't we all have that one manager who knows how to rub the thought in with the satisfaction of him adding the fuel he wanted.

We can't avoid that manager but what we can avoid is beating ourselves up as we try to micro Manage ourselves.

Recently a friend of mine on beBee said " don't beat yourself up". – Cyndi wilkins

We know this but what the mind knows it fails to realise and the heart fails to accept.

I have been more productive when I worked in a more relaxing mood than with stress.

The quality of my work more self-appreciated than if I did my work just for the heck of completing it.

Don't Micromanage yourself.
Know – Understand – Believe – Execute. 
The KUBE Loop gives me the basic principles to guide our work. We need to have this loop dancing around our waist to be active and to achieve.

1. Know

You know what is expected of you. If you don't we have all the tools in the world. Offline and Online to brush ourselves on the work given.

2. Understand

Understand the work given to you. If you ask someone to do that work for you what do you expect them to accomplish. That's brings in understanding. Think like your boss to understand what he expects of you.

3. Believe

We have that inner voice on one side it tells us " Your gonna nail this project" and another one that tells us " Your gonna screw up so bad". When you successfully cross the above 2 stages you become confident. Believe you can accomplish the work and that belief in yourself drowns the other negative voice. You are only person who can make you do things for you. Be it at work or your personal life. Believe in yourself. Believe you can learn. Believe you can grow. Believe you can achieve.


Like I once said by sitting at the driver's seat. It ain't gonna take drive you home. 

Execute your thoughts into actions. Your actions into results. Your results into analyses. Your failures into experiences. Your experiences into lessons for self and others. Your successes into motivations.  


Update your skills and focus on your vision. Remember to love yourself and the work you do.  Even if the balance is uneven.  It should always be more on the loving yourself end.

Only when we love ourself can we love others. Only when we learn, we can teach and only when we give we can receive. These I've learnt are the basic principles of the universe.

Engagements and interactions are one of the best things I love about writing. As my learning journey continues I invite you to join me and share your experiences.

I am not perfect and I will not try to be. Being imperfect expands my opportunities to learn and grow. We must remain self-similar as my Fractal friend Milos quotes:

"We are self-similar fractals. That's why we are beautiful. The more you can define your self-similarity, more you can define yourself." – Milos Djukic

How much we know and understand ourselves is critically important, but there is something that is even more essential to living a Wholehearted life: loving ourselves. – Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

To read about my beBee journey visit my blog or follow me here as I share my experiences with you.

Fatima Williams  – JOIN ME on beBee and start buzzing

Here's a link to my very first buzz on beBee

I invite you to join my hive – Why beBee to share your experiences on Why beBee ?

About me

I am a brand ambassador on beBee , an ardent reader and during my working hours provide HR Recruitment services to many organisations in the GCC. I love life and live to enjoy every single minute given to me.  I love to write and do so rarely ( Winks)

Thank you for reading this article. I welcome your comments. I follow some amazing people on beBee from who I draw my inspiration to write. If you find this article very useful or interesting, please share it with other members of your Social networks.

"To share to learn" Stay awesome always !

 ðŸ Fatima G. Williams 🐝 Fatima G. Williams
Recruitment || Business Development • 

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Ex-Boyfriend Stabs Her 32 Times. 3 Years Later, The EMT Who Found Her Dying Hands Her A Note

In 2012, Melissa Dohme was 20 years old when she was attacked by her ex-boyfriend in Clearwater, FL. He stabbed her 32 times and left her for dead. Miraculously, she survived.

Firefighter-paramedic, Cameron Hill, was one of the first responders at the scene of the crime. One day, in the midst of her long road to recovery, Melissa attended a church event and finally met Cameron.

Melissa and Cameron instantly connected, and soon they were in love.

Melissa underwent several surgeries to reconstruct her face and body. Wait until you see her transformation! She continues to document her journey via Facebook, constantly showing her appreciate for her strong support network of family, friends, her loyal pit bull, and now the love of her life. All the while, Melissa has become an advocate against domestic violence; she’s graduated from college; she’s become a nurse; and her story of survival has inspired millions.

A judge sentenced Robert Lee Burton Jr. to life in prison. After the sentencing, Melissa proved her strength yet again. “I offer forgiveness and I forgive him,” she said. “Forgiveness is a sign of letting go and when you forgive someone that hurts you, you take away their power.”

Three years after her brush with death, Melissa threw the ‪ceremonial first pitch at a Tampa Bay Rays game. Little did she know, Cameron had a huge surprise for her.

This is Melissa Dohme. When she was 20 years old, her ex-boyfriend tried to kill her. He stabbed her 32 times, all over her body, and left her for dead.

But Melissa fought for her life, and miraculously, she survived. She suffered critical stab wounds to her face and neck, leaving her partially paralyzed in her face. The attempted killer was sentenced to life in prison, and Melissa began documenting her road to recovery on Facebook.

Melissa's best friend Kayla stood by her side, from the trauma room to her first courtroom appearance. You can see the incredible transformation Melissa began to make in recovery.

Melissa underwent several surgeries to repair the damage that had been done, like scar excision and revision surgery. She had deep cuts, missing teeth, an eye that didn't shut — but she never gave up hope.

Included in Melissa's vast network of supporters and loved ones is Dixie, her faithful pit bull. Dogs have incredible healing power!

One day, in the midst of her long road to recovery, Melissa attended a church event and finally met Cameron (pictured on right) — one of the firefighter-paramedics who saved her life that tragic day. The two instantly bonded, and sparks flew…

…And by 2013, Melissa and Cameron were totally in love! Melissa says she's not bitter about the attack because it led to her meeting the love of her life. 

As Melissa began piecing her life back together, she became a huge advocate in her community against domestic violence. Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence is just one of her many causes, and victims of domestic violence look to her for hope and strength.
As Melissa began piecing her life back together, she became a huge advocate in her community against domestic violence. Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence is just one of her many causes, and victims of domestic violence look to her for hope and strength.

Robert Lee Burton Jr. pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder. Judge Keith Meyer sentenced him to life in prison without parole. He was 22 at the time of the crime.

On May 11, 2015, Melissa threw the‬ ceremonial first pitch at the Tampa Bay Rays baseball game for her community work opposing domestic violence. She had no idea Cameron was there with a huge surprise…


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4 Skills Entrepreneurs Need to Succeed — No Talent Required

Brian de HaaffFollowingUnfollowBrian de Haaff
CEO, Aha! — #1 product roadmap software
Some memes make the rounds online regularly. One that often pops up is the list of “10 things that require zero talent.” From big-picture traits like passion to daily habits like being on time, the list is a good reminder that success as an entrepreneur requires a strong foundation.

Building a business is hard work. It requires constant vigilance — and always being on the lookout for hidden opportunities.
That is why, rather than sleeping through a flight, you might spend two hours talking shop with your seatmate, who is an ideal consumer for your product — because you could pick up some valuable information. In fact, something similar just happened to me during a conversation where I learned that a parent on my son’s soccer team was a VP of product.

Most entrepreneurs that I know already do most of those 10 things that require zero talent. They have no problem being prepared or putting in extra effort.
But successful entrepreneurs take it farther with four more skills that set them apart. And luckily, those skills do not require special knowledge, an expensive degree, or any talent to cultivate.

So, what are these special skills — and how can you use them to build your own business?

The success of your business depends on how you solve your customer’s problems. How closely do you listen? How quickly do you interrupt with what you want to say? Instead of butting in, try attentive listening to understand the frustrations and challenges your customer faces. You will be better able to empathize and provide real solutions.

Do you feel like you are putting out fires every day — and not getting anywhere? The trouble may be that you consider all tasks to be created equal. Take time to prioritize what aligns to your strategic goals. Then set a plan to tackle (with tasks ordered by priority) and stick to it. You will accomplish more and see real progress.

Want to instantly make your customers happier? It costs you nothing to be more responsive. That means immediately following up on voicemails and responding to emails. Your customers will appreciate your fast response — and you find will more opportunities to connect.

Here is another skill — keeping an open mind. Start by expanding what you typically read to include materials that offer an alternate point of view, even the opposite of yours. Strike up a conversation with a stranger. When you challenge yourself to consider new ideas, you can more easily engage and build solid relationships with customers and your team.

These skills do not require any talent or cost to develop. But they do require an investment of time and effort.
You will not suddenly become a better listener or more open-minded overnight. But you can make these skills a priority. Your dedication will pay off in dividends — once you have a stronger, more nimble business to show for it.

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