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Why Students Need to Become Idea Machines

Because Ideas are the currency of the 21st century!

Explained Claudia Azula Altucher in her guest lecture at NYU.

Claudia and James Altucher, the authors of best-selling books, including The Power of No and Become an Idea Machine and co-hosts of the popular Ask Altucher podcast, came to NYU to answer some of the most burning questions for students all over America:

How to get a job after graduation? How to get ahead of the pack? How to stand out? How to build a personal brand? How to negotiate a better employment terms? How to make money? How to create wealth? How to start a business? How to get my first client? The list went on!

According to Claudia and James, the answer is simple:

Come up with 10 ideas a day. Every day. It does not matter if they are good or bad, the point is to exercise your idea muscle, to make it sweat.
People say ideas are a dime a dozen but that is NOT true. Ideas are a dime for three, but if you try to come up with ten by opening this book to any page, you will feel your mind stretching, working, sweating.
People say execution is everything, that is ALSO NOT true. Execution is a subset of ideas. When you exercise your idea muscle every day you become an idea machine, you are unstoppable.
When a GREAT idea comes your way you are inspired, you feel moved, you HAVE to take the next step. Execution happens automatically. Try the 180 prompts in this book, list your ten ideas every day and see your life transform, in magical ways, in front of your eyes.

Below we published the collaborative insights from 17 students who attended Claudia’s talk, and are enrolled in Search Marketing class within M.S. in Integrated Marketing at NYU SPCS. The class was divided in teams, and we used Google Docs to collaboratively share and edit our key insights from Claudia’s lecture.

We also have a collection on Medium: Inbound Marketing Clinic at NYU.

“Ideas are the Currency of the 21st Century” Claudia Azula Altucher

Ideas are the Currency of Life! Not Money!

Good ideas buy you good experiences, which buy you better ideas. If you are an idea machine, you will have a ton of ideas in every situation you are in. Any question you are asked, you will know the answer. If you need to make money you will come up with 100 ideas to make money.

Working out your Idea Muscle

Tom Brady didn’t become one of the greatest quarterbacks overnight, Diego Maradona didn’t become a legendary soccer player without practice, and your brain won’t give you constantly great ideas, unless you practice it.

That is what working out your idea muscle is all about, and what the book “How to Become an Idea Machine” is all about. Claudia wants us to practice our ideas every day, she wants us to practice so much, that finally, YOU can become an idea machine.

The interesting aspect here is the fact that nothing happens overnight, you have to work for it. Just like professional athletes, you have to practice to become great at something. Your muscle doesn’t grow over night; it grows with consistency, dedication, and hard work.

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Don’t Judge Someone’s Idea

Don’t worry about someone judge your idea, don’t care what people think. Nobody knows the idea is good or not. You should respect each idea, because the idea has to come first, it preceeds execution.

You may have hundreds of ideas, but when one of them is good, you can feel it. Ideas give you inspiration, and when you are an idea machine you know good things are coming to you in life and business.

If you have many ideas, don’t pick an idea, let ideas choose you. It’s because the idea choose you with the force of energy, and you have no choice but to move into action.

Get your Ideas in Writing!

More or less, everyone has ideas. But why it is hard to become an idea machine?

Here’s a story. The McKays writes, “Mark Twain kept 40–50 pocket notebooks over four decades of his life. He often began one before embarking on a trip. He filled the notebooks with observations of people he met, thoughts on religion and politics, drawings and sketches of what he saw on his travels, potential plots for books, and even ideas for inventions (he filed 3 patents during his lifetime). Many of his entries consist of the short, witty, pithy sentences he is famous for. He felt that if he did not write such things down as they came to his mind he would quickly forget them.”

James and Claudia walk the walk when it comes to idea generations, and James even showed us his waiter’s pad!

Exercise Your Idea Muscle

  • The concept that our brain is merely an idea muscle that needs to be exercised similar to the human body is fascinating. By pumping out 10 ideas a day, we train our brains to produce ideas at an easier pace.
  • Naturally, our brains begin to tire around Idea #4 or #7
  • Having ideas is a source of income. Share them to reap the benefits.
  • When you stumble across an idea that takes over your body, run with it.

Ideas Sex Sounds Quirky, But It’s Actually Good!

Have you ever heard of the term Idea Sex? It refers to the practice of combining different ideas into one ‘atomic idea.’ When we did this exercise in class, we got couple quirky ideas. But I have to admit that the idea generated by combining different ideas is truly better and more interesting than the original ones.

Just as Claudia said, “usually the best idea is the combination of couple ideas.” It’s a natural brainstorm process if you work in teams. When you hang out with friends, you may have different ideas about what to do. So the solution is to do idea sex, combine all ideas into one. We do idea sex every day without even being aware of it. If we intentionally practice it, we can get tons of quirky but really amazing ideas!

Idea Karma: Give them away for free

Claudia explained that ideas are the “currency of this generation”. They are even better than money, because ideas keeping giving. Money runs out. It is finite, whereas ideas keep growing.

If you become an idea machine you will keep having ideas and they will never run out. Claudia went on to say that you should give your ideas away, which surprised many of us.

Well, if ideas are money why would one want to give them away? Because if you are a well oiled idea machine you will have another idea right away. The value in contributing your ideas to the people around you is in creating an idea karma. The more you give the more will come back.

One day someone you gave an idea to will remember you. You want to build this network of people around you that think of you as an idea machine, and come to you for ideas. You give them ideas for free and charge for execution.

Who doesn’t want an idea machine around them?

Ideas are integrated in One’s Personality or Brand’s Identity.

One’s personality and one’s ideas have a strong relationship. It is because of our ideas that we become who we are. To a certain extent, an idea machine is the means for us to become who we really are. The same applies for brands. There is an undeniable parallel between ideas and consumers or brands.

Ideas are so integral to the brand’s identity. Facebook was invented by a Harvard student’s idea, Google was invented by two PhD’s ideas and the iPhone was invented by a perfectionist’s idea. To become idea machines for a brand requires much more discipline and is more difficult. However, the result of such hard work can be so rewarding.

An app that Tells you What your Potential Dates are Thinking

What do you get from merging innovative dating apps and the constant curiosity of reading between lines when you get a “I want to see you”? — A dating app that will suggest, in real time, where the conversation is really going and what your potential date actually means when he says he wants to see you. The previous idea, was a result of “idea sex”, a method introduced by Claudia A Altucher, co-author of the book “Become an idea machine”, who suggests that the currency of the 21st century, and gave a couple of valuable insights on how to get the sweat out of your idea muscles.

A gifted public speaker that is a Woman

The success of Claudia’s talk in class was in that she made the talk easy to listen to, without using pompous language. Also, she employed the method of ‘bullet points’ to make her life “tips” clear and easy to remember. Like every good speaker, Claudia knew that to capture the audience, her talk had to involve a story about her life rather than an impersonal instructive talk.

Thus, she didn’t hesitate to admit that based on her own experiences, even in 2015, men tend to sometimes treat women as inferiors in the business world. However, it isn’t just men’s fault. As Sheryl Sandberg stated during her Ted Talk in December 2010 even though women seem to be active in leadership roles, they are not really “leaning in”.

Talent and Ideas

Of course the most memorable quote came out Claudia’s speech was that “ideas are the currency of 21st century”, which made some of us think of a popular Chinese movie in 2004, “A World Without Thieves,” directed by Feng Xiaogang. In the movie, most valuable thing in 21st century was “Talent.”

Talent and ideas are related. Just talent is not enough, you need ideas to demonstrate your talent. Then, you can exchange good ideas for money, job, market share, or even respect among your peers.

By practicing how to generate ideas (how to become a idea machine) as Altucher’s book said, would not only bring up the quantity of the ideas, but also the quality of your ideas.

A Mirror that Automatically Puts your Desired Makeup Look on:

For many girls, putting makeup on every day requires a lot of effort. We are happy to see the flawless self in the mirror, but sometimes we just hope we don’t have to spend time and energy thinking about what look we want today and carefully putting on the necessary makeup.

Thus, we came up with an idea of a mirror during Claudia’s talk that can solve the makeup problem. The mirror could be embedded with a program that provides different customized looks based on your face shape, your skin color, the occasion you are going to, and even your mood of the day. Then, with installed airbrush and other liquid makeups, and facial positioning tech, the mirror automatically puts your desired makeup look on your face. Smart!

The importance of coming up with 10 ideas

We often have a fixed notion that people who are creative, or ‘idea machines,’ are inherently creative. However, Claudia taught us anyone can be an idea machine.

To become an idea machine, it is necessary to come up with 10 ideas a day, similar to how exercising everyday makes our bodies stronger. Also, there is a specific reason why it should be 10. People tend to have a difficulty when they try to come up with more than 7 ideas, in our case from the 7th to 10th ideas, but she said that people are able to strengthen their idea muscles when they are in that moment. As Jim Rohn said, “for every disciplined effort, there is a multiple reward.”, that moment makes us to becoming an idea machine!

The Confidence Gap & The Spread of Smart Ideas: Women Should Speak Up More

Why is it that men are the first to raise their hand in the classroom or in the boardroom? Is it because they are naturally ‘idea machines’ — eager to spew the next best idea to achieve unprecedented ROI or find the cure for the Ebola virus? Not surprisingly, WSJ Bestselling Author, Claudia Azula Altucher, posed the question:

“Did you know that men will apply to a job only having just 70% of the position’s requirements, meanwhile, women only apply when they know they fulfill 100% of the job description? We, [women], should learn to trust more in ourselves. We should trust more in our ideas. Spread smart ideas.”

Furthermore, women with accents should not be further deterred from speaking up, and being a source of thought-provoking ideas. After all, what does one’s IQ have anything to do with the manner in which you speak? Having an accent indicates that you are from another country, this is a huge advantage considering innovation is born from thinking differently. Furthermore, different backgrounds and cultures result in different approaches to solving problems. In turn, Altucher’s coined term, ‘idea sex’ can only then, truly heat up!

Don’t be afraid to give your ideas, give it for free!

Are you still keeping the “good ideas” to yourself? They are not good ideas if no one knows about it. Ideas start to have value when it is shared! And by sharing it, it can bring you opportunities and prosperity. Write emails to companies you are interested, send them your ideas or what you think they can improve on.Don’t think about yourself or what you can gain from it. Don’t ask for reward or talk about yourself. It’s merely for them. Just give ideas, good ones, kick-off ones, and opportunities will come to you. Don’t be afraid to give away ideas, because you are a idea machine.

Get rid of negative people, NOW!

Do you remember when you were a kid? You were curious about every little thing around you. You could draw for hours, sing your favorite songs, dance around the house, just be yourself. Your parents, family, friends did not criticize you because you were a kid and you were allowed to be free and expressive.

Once you were six you went to school and that freedom of expression started slowly to evolve. At school you couldn’t be that bold anymore, you couldn’t freely say what comes to mind, there was only one right answer and your teachers expected you to know it. You eventually went through years of education to find a job that was even more brutal, where criticism is just a normal day-to-day routine and none of your ideas are good enough. You closed yourself off because of the people that surround you, because of the people that constantly criticize you, yet have no ideas themselves.

Forget about THEM! Surround yourself only with those that empower you, embrace your ideas and push you forward. Be a kid again and remember there are no bad ideas, it’s all about the execution.

Have YOU come up with your 10 ideas today?