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The Intangibles

The Intangibles is a series where we share tips, tricks, insights, and examples of how the hard-to-define aspects of business (and life!) can impact founders, entrepreneurs, and their new gaming and esports ventures

Part 1: Talking About Inspiration

In life there are many things that are hard to explain: the intangibles. Business is no different. Things like target audiences, minimally-viable products, and unit economics are easier for founders to grasp because they are more easily measured. But it’s the intangibles that often drive a new company’s success. Today’s Intangible? Inspiration. And we can trigger inspiration with one weird trick (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Let’s look at an example of inspiration in the gaming and esports space. Unless you live under a rock, you have probably heard of Mediatonic Games’ hit Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout. It’s a mix of game shows like “Wipeout” and battle royale video games, all wrapped into one colorful package. Lead Designer Joe Walsh was hit by inspiration during a completely different and unrelated meeting. The next day he came into work with a one page about the game and the studio acted upon it.  They  had a hunch that this idea could be the studio’s breakout hit.

With that burst of inspiration, Walsh is now reaching 8 million users and counting. Mediatonic Games has seen at least five times their expected numbers, and each weekend since release the users have increased. But how does the “overnight” success of Mediatonic Games apply to your new venture?  

Well first I hope that story inspired you. If it did, congratulations, stop reading and go to work on your fresh new idea! I expect a cut of whatever you came up with. If it did not, no worries. Here’s something you can try to the inspiration you need to identify an unmet market need, guide a product pivot, or unlock a unique go-to-market strategy.

Talk it out.

Wait, it’s just that simple? It can be! The amount of times I find inspiration or solve a problem just by saying it out loud is endless. In fact, there are parts of our brain that are activated more when we actually hear an idea–even if that voice is our own.

Bringing others into the conversation can be even more powerful. I personally find some of my best ideas by working with other people. You never know when a friend will say something that will set you down the rabbit hole of inspiration. It can give you another point of view. You can gain some clarification if your thoughts are confusing or disjointed. Your confidants often raise new questions you might not have even thought of. And asking someone to be an aggressive devil’s advocate to challenge your current thinking can inspire solutions to problems you may have missed if you were locked in your own head.

The act of talking your idea into existence can be a very inspiring act. Writing down your idea is great so you do not forget it but speaking it out loud may help you find the missing piece in the puzzle. 

Before I go, I want to share a resource that is full of activities to help trigger inspiration. This book right here: The Writer’s Block: 786 Ideas to Jump-Start Your Imagination 

#notanadd. If I’m ever stuck on an idea or do not have the faintest clue what to do. I use this book. Almost 800 ways to get inspired. I can hear you now though, ”But Nick, this book is for writer’s block.” Why yes. Yes it is. Remember that finding inspiration for a new business venture and stirring your imagination are two leaves on the same stem. If you don’t believe me, a) why have you read this far? And b) Try this book yourself, or some other writer’s block activities online. It’ll work. Trust me.