Have you ever wondered why some ideas manifest and move to action and some fizzle, either yours or someone else's. Or, how about the person who is always yapping about the next idea, yet never really follows through, and yet again there are those who execute one solid idea after another. 

 What Separates Them?

I had the opportunity to speak at a Jeff Pulver #140Conf Detroit last week, and my topic was Focus On What You Have. It is a completely different mindset and way of approaching projects with a dramatically different result.

 Everything Starts with an Idea

Everything we do starts with an idea, and ideas come in a moments time. Great game changing ideas can come in the shower, while driving or any other time we allow ourselves to relax enough and let ideas flow. We get excited about them, particularly when no one is looking, or we think no one is looking. But as soon as we think someone is looking, something starts to shift, and we begin to think about what may be missing. What may be missing becomes the death of great ideas.

There is Never Anything Missing in Your Mind 

When you visualize an idea in your mind, there is never anything missing from the picture is there. You can shape that picture however you like, there is no committee needed for approval. It is just an idea, and there is little to no risk in an idea, particularly if we have yet to share the idea with anyone.

 For me, as I would drive about town and see a cool building my mind would drift to a place of what the property may look like once we developed it. I would start to get excited about it. But throughout the whole idea process never once does what I didn't have enter the equation, that would be silly, it is my idea, I can create and shape whatever I want. 

Ideas Start to Materialize

 At some point, what we think about starts to present opportunity, and the rubber meets the road. Opportunities can be a scary, it is much safer to think and rethink "What Might Be Missing" While this is not to suggest that one should not think through a solid plan or to act irresponsible, but when we start to focus on what might be missing, that is exactly what we find. 

Double Down on Your Strengths

As things such as the economy start to tighten up, or we look around at the competition, we start to think about what, or how we can improve. Not that that is a bad thing, but we tend to bench ourselves against our competitors. The problem with that thinking is this, It Is a Race to Commodity Sameness. Think about Starbucks having breakfast sandwiches and McDonalds have gourmet coffee.

Another approach is to Double Down on what you have, Your Strengths, and put as much distance between you and them as you can muster. Focus on your strengths, and what you have and you will create your own market, absent competition and the ability to write the rules.  

Richard Branson started Virgin Airlines with a single plane and making people laugh. Doubling down on his strengths seems to have worked. 

When we started Virgin Atlantic in 1984, we had some great people and lots of good ideas about how to do things differently . Sadly, we did not have a lot of money to take it to the streets. Compared to the giant establishment players of the time -- TWA, Pan-Am and British Airways -- we had a tiny fleet, if one plane qualifies as a fleet, and a miniscule advertising budget.


About Eric Brown

Eric Brown

Eric Brown's background is rooted in the rental and real estate industries. He founded metro Detroit's Urbane Apartments in 2003, after serving as senior vice president for a major Midwest apartment developer. He established a proven track record of effectively repositioning existing rental properties in a way that added value for investors while enhancing the resident experience. He also established The Urbane Way, a social media marketing and PR laboratory, where innovative marketing ideas are tested.


October 24, 2010





Eric Brown has (30) years in the Multi-Family Apartment Business having built and developed over 17,000 apartment units, both market rate, luxury and tax credit apartments. Having started Urbane Apartments in 2003 after leaving a lengthy stint as a Senior Vice President at Village Green Companies, a national apartment developer, Eric decided he wanted to create wealth, and set out from Corporate America on his own and created Urbane Apartments in Royal Oak, MI.






Comments(1)

Thanks for the post. Sounds like what I learned in school. The simplest idea that gets completed is always better then the most beautiful idea sitting in someone's head.

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