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Paul Poiret, an early rival, was not kind: “Poverty deluxe,” he called the Jesus and Santa Claus Reindeer birthday boy ugly Christmas shirt Apart from…,I will love this youthful, pared-down look that transformed women from overblown Belle Époque belles into sleek, bobbed-hair, modern women. Virginie Viard’s Chanel haute couture presentation saw us in the romantically overgrown garden of a cloister, set somewhat miraculously in the chilly immensity of Paris’s Grand Palais. The setting suggested a key element in Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s legendary story. First, does the basic machine work and can it be delivered. For physical products, this means that basic physics or chemistry has to be sound. Nikolai Tesla is renowned for having proposed or hinted at all sorts of inventions that never went anywhere. For many of these, the basic physical principles of how they would operate aren’t clear. I’d be very cautious about any of these ideas; they *could* be crazy good, but they’re probably just crazy. Second, I look for customer demand. Is this solving a problem that customers are definitely feeling? Our customers clearly unsatisfied with the current solutions and ready to jump on this new idea, or is this a neat idea in search of a need? The answer to this marks the difference between a crazy-good idea and a hobby. The line between an idea that is crazy good and just crazy can be hard to decipher. Speaking from my own experience, a good idea that looked like a bad idea was probably the Cultural Leadership Fund. I remember the amount of time and number of steps it took to get the CLF off the ground. I thought that maybe the idea was too crazy for VC since it never existed before, but the big vision kept me focused. You have to do whatever is needed to ignite the flame of inspiration to keep your dream moving forward every single day. It’s the culmination of small actions every day that turn your crazy idea into one that people eventually understand and admire. Apple’s most recognized commercial focused on celebrating the crazy ones, so continue to raise a glass to those who believe what nobody else can believe and bring it to life. I think every founder has to be a little crazy. So if we take that as a given, then the answer to that question is just survivorship who is succeeding. Less flippantly, when I look at some of the great companies that sounded like truly crazy ideas, there are a couple of patterns.Chanel was 11 years old when her mother died, and as her wayward father—a traveling salesman with a supposed wandering eye—was often away, it was decided that she would be sent to the convent of Aubazine in the remote French region of Corrèze. Here, her unusual and impoverished situation meant that she was among the girls singled out to wear an austere black-and-white uniform, one that she would adapt through the years to dress the richest and most stylish women of her age.
In imaginative retellings of her autobiography, Chanel would refer to the Jesus and Santa Claus Reindeer birthday boy ugly Christmas shirt Apart from…,I will love this convent’s strict and unforgiving nuns as “aunts.” These taskmasters nevertheless taught the young Chanel to sew and thus gave her the tools to forge a life as an independent woman for herself in later years. The aesthetic of the convent stayed with Chanel forever. Her distinguished future biographer Edmonde Charles-Roux saw in the designer’s “yearning for austerity” or in the moments when she. A very opinionated technical bet, a coherent business strategy that feels extreme (consumer experience and convenience over margin at scale, with operational excellence – Amazon), or markets that seem very niche but are much, much larger than they appear (Couchsurfing for design conferences or a global marketplace for travel and experiences – AirBnB, a mobile app for black cars or personal transport – Uber). Plenty of people still think solar is a crazy, bad, dumb idea but the Chinese are doing wonders and plenty of Americans continue to tinker with it to make it better and better, more and more efficient and cheaper. The same with batteries and games and everything we use. And things you and I haven’t thought of. Just remember at one time no one expected cars would replace horses, 60 Inch TVs would be common, people laughed at the idea of phones and later computers. Those were crazy ideas you know. The line is only known with hindsight. I don’t mean that sarcastically, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Big ideas are a game of odds, and if something has a 1/20 chance of working then being labeled “crazy good” or “crazy” is just whether reality landed on the 1 or the other 19. All investing, from bond investing to VC, is getting the expected value of diversified odds in your favor. Your question makes me think of the line delivered by Neils Bohr to Wolfgang Pauli after Pauli’s presentation in 1958 at Columbia University on Heisenberg’s and Pauli’s nonlinear field theory of elementary particles: “We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question that divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. It seems that merely crazy is just crazy, But crazy enough to be correct is what we might say is crazy good. But the way I justify “crazy good” before this is if there’s a roadmap that makes sense and I actually believe the founder can execute on the said plan.
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