Unoriginal Idea, Original Delivery



There’s no such thing as an original idea.

Is this statement true? I don’t know. If anything, it’s a tautology.

It does imply something about creativity. So what if it’s been done before? Communicate it differently.

Nothing New to Say, But New Ways to Say It

Some friends who see my work online say that they’ve tried blogging but find it futile. They can’t think of anything original. 

I have the same struggles. Microsoft Excel is the staple of my blog. Yet what Excel formula couldn’t have possibly been written about online?

I had feared posting the same old formulas and functions. But the solution to unoriginal ideas is original delivery. Storytelling becomes part of the story. 

Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman have a great example in their book Content Rules.

“Consider Pawn Stars, a popular show on the History Channel, and compare it with Antiques Roadshow, which airs on PBS,” they write. “Both shows are essentially the same … But the approaches are vastly different, and so are the brands.”

This was a breakthrough. I felt like my content had to be original. Now I understand this isn’t so important as it is to make my brand and approachoriginal. 

Not Another Excel Function!

I’ve positioned my blog not by cataloging every Excel function under the sun but instead by providing a resource for recent grads and others who are interested in becoming analysts but don’t know where to start.

I’ve posted quick Excel tips and other analyst tidbits on Instagram. So far as I know this is the only Excel content regularly being posted on that medium.

I’m currently working on an online course which will cover how to start using Excel as an analyst. I’ve put this off for a while for fear that “it’s been done before.” There are dozens of Excel courses, I thought. Really, another? 

Like my blog, though, I am targeting this course toward job-seeking analysts. This is all the stuff I’ve learned over the past few years that I had no idea about as a rookie straight out of business school.

You’ll find some these concepts sprinkled about the blogosphere, but I want this course to mold them into a coherent story. The base is just functions, but the brand and approach makes it helpful.

No new ideas? Fine. Just tell them differently. 

George J. Mount is the author of Sip, Smile, Repeat: How to Crush It at Young Professional Networking Events.

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