Answer Yourself! A blog by Sukhpreet Singh

A blog on personal development, entrepreneurship & change.

6th September 2007

What can you see that rest of us cannot see?

Talking the talk and walking the walk – what a big difference. Everyday hundreds of ideas pass us by; everydayTom Szaky hundreds of people think/discuss about their amazing ideas; everyday hundreds fight to keep the implementation of their idea alive just one more day, but there are a handful that make it to the other side. A few days back, i heard about the founder and CEO of TerraCycle – Tom Szaky on NPR. I couldn’t believe, he is only 23 years and he started this company when he was 19. I have tremendous respect for young entrepreneurs. His idea – sell waste using waste. Here is an excerpt by Bo Burlingham of

It may well be the world’s first commercial product made entirely from garbage. The plant food itself is a so-called vermicompost tea, a brew made from the castings (that is, the poop) of red worms that have feasted on various types of organic waste. The containers are reused soda bottles. The spray tops are the unwanted extras that have been dumped by manufacturers of other spray-on products. Even the boxes that the plant food is shipped in are garbage: They’re the misprinted rejects of major companies.

How did he come up with this idea?
When he was a freshman at Princeton University, some of his friends were trying unsuccessfully to grow marijuana in their basement and they used various kinds of chemical, but were unsuccessful. Then they tried fertilizing the plants with worm poop and it fixed everything. Quoting from an article on Tom, (7 page article – must read)

As it happened, Szaky had been searching for a business to enter in Princeton’s annual business plan competition to be held in early 2002. The answer came to him as he and his friends were enjoying the fruits of their labor. Worms! If these worms could turn table scraps into such terrific fertilizer, just think what you could do with an army of worms! You could recycle all the organic waste in North America! You could solve the problem of dwindling landfill space! You could replace chemical fertilizers with organic fertilizers! And you could make a fortune!

Have you ever had any such idea that just popped up while you were living your life as usual? And did you do something about it (not necessarily start a business) – maybe help solve some crisis, or present it for a class project or as business plan or it helped you earn some extra cash? What did you see that nobody else could see even tho it was always there in front of everyone.

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posted in Young Entrepreneurs, startup |
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