Anyone with a beach house knows that Memorial Day weekend means, “Hello, Summer!” Summer reunites a group of us who spend countless days on the sand doing what any respectable beach lover does: drink. My closest friend in this group is Janie – she also lives near me at home so Janie is not a “summer friend” exclusively, although I do see her more often in the sun. In fact, we will spend more than 60 days sitting next to each other this summer, lamenting about how grueling it is to have to move our chairs when the tide starts coming in or we have to rotate to follow the sun. God forbid we have to get up and get one of the kids something.
Janie is not a female corporate traveler, but that doesn’t stop her from weighing in. I haven’t met the topic Janie isn’t willing to weigh in on.
Indeed, Janie and I are not above talking about anything. Or anyone. By July 4th, she and I will have exhausted all topics and we will start making stuff up. We’re at our best here. We typically come up with some amazing new idea that we think could have commercial success and begin to plan its marketing strategy.
But the stinger is that several of our great ideas have actually come to market – thanks to someone else!
One year we were reminiscing about hula-hooping as youngsters and that led to the idea of developing hula hoop aerobic classes. We even sketched out a routine. Sure enough, hula classes are now a staple at most gyms. A lot of our ideas relate to food or new restaurants that inevitably pop up the following season and take off like gangbusters.
The summer of my “self funded sabbatical” we developed a very elaborate pooled vacation derivative product that we entitled “Collateralized Vacation Obligations” or CVOs. We worked on this pretty hard, going through several bags of Doritos and bottles of Pinot Grigio. It basically went like this: we created a vacation card for island visitors who would proceed to use it to leverage up their vacation to the hilt. They’d earn points the more they spent and these could be redeemed at local proprietors for something of very little value. We then pooled these loans and sold them off to investors willing to assume the risk and enjoy the high returns. It was a tricky product because we needed the collaboration of the casinos, the hotels, the better restaurants and what not. But it had promise for sure.
So, this year, we have made a pact to take our next big idea seriously. We don’t know exactly what it is yet, but Janie is confident. She just texted me the following: “Last night I thought of a book we could right (sic) together. But I forget the details involved. When they come back to me, I will fill you in. I thought it was a fabulous idea.”
With that kind of commitment and creativity, how can we lose? So, the goal is crystal clear: apparently write a book she swears is fantastic although the premise/plot/protagonist escape her.