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juliaChildHave you ever heard someone say that in a meeting? A planning session? Or worse yet, a brainstorming session? 

If everyone felt that way – you try something once, it fails, it cannot be done – we wouldn’t have airplanes, electricity, telephones, post-it-notes or the Food Network! 

I just finished reading Julia Child’s My Life in France.

She didn’t set out to become a highly rated televised cooking show, she had a passion for French cooking. She wanted to teach American housewives, who did not have servants, to master the art of French cooking. She spent 10 years writing her first cookbook. The manuscript came in at over 700 pages. 

Her first publisher, after giving her an advance, told her there was no audience in America for something that detailed. The TV dinner had just been introduced and that convinced the folks in charge at this publishing house that no one was interested in cooking anymore. The American housewife was looking for fast and easy. That may have been somewhat true – but not everyone was looking for that. Could there be a niche for French? Maybe you could be successful by not appealing to the masses? Interesting thought. 

Luckily someone at Knopf publishing shared her passion for French cuisine and was able to convince the company to take a chance. 

The notorious James Beard was actually the first person to be televised cooking. He had no real camera presence. He was an artist – not a great communicator. So it was concluded by many that “No one wanted to watch someone cook on television.” 

Think about it – today we have an entire network, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week that is devoted to watching people cook. One of the highest rated shows in a season is the Next Food Network Star. 

So the next time you hear someone say, “You know, we tried that once – it won’t work.” You may be hearing an idea so great its time has finally come. You may have finally found your true differentiator!

Question everything. 

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August 2009