Funny How We Get Ideas

I’ve been Tweeting for about 5 years, both for my own businesses and for clients in my marketing consulting business. I’ve found that by sticking to strong marketing strategy and principles, Twitter can be organized in a way that makes it a powerful marketing communications tool. But I never expected it to be a source of an idea for a new high tech product.

One morning in early 2011, I got a tweet from Twitter rockstar Robert Scoble. Scoble works for SIlicon Valley tech company Rackspace and, more importantly to us in social media, is a blogger, photographer and all around techie who rocks on Twitter and Google+. The said Tweet had just a link to a photo…a photo that is changing my life.

In the Tweet’s photo link, Scoble showed his new business card. A normal sized paper card that was printed with a QR Code. Quick Response Codes are 2-D Barcodes that store lots of information. QR Codes are a great idea for a business card, and Scoble was excited enough about his new card to Tweet about it.

My immediate thought when I saw the link was: “why do you need to print on paper?”. You see I come from the laser micromachining world. I am a co-founder of Potomac Photonics [] where we were laser pioneers. It may give away my age, but Potomac has been micromanufacturing little things for many industries for almost 30 years.

So of course, I thought, Potomac could laser engrave a QR Code to create a Paperless Business CardTM ! Just cut to the chase and eliminate paper, printing, ink and solvents. How cool is that? Not just the product, of course, but how the idea came to me!

In business we never know where we’ll find ideas. New product ideas require being open to what is around us, analyzing customer needs and finding solutions that are outside the box. That’s how was born from a Tweet, well plus some good analytical thinking that followed!

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