The Myth of Total Originality: Why Customers Want Solutions, Not Gimmicks

We've all heard it - as entrepreneurs, we need to come up with completely novel, disruptive ideas. While that drive for innovation is crucial, the obsession with being 100% original can also hold us back.

The truth is, customers ultimately care about value more than newness for newness's sake. They want excellent solutions to their problems, delivered in a remarkable way.

Don't Get Hung Up on Novelty

When dreaming up a business concept, many entrepreneurs get stuck on trying to reinvent the wheel. They think their idea must be groundbreaking - a product unlike anything else out there.

However, the most successful businesses often take something familiar...

... and just add their unique spin to it.

Over time this can make their product far superior to their competition's.

Take Apple for example. Though the iPod was (hugely) innovative in many ways, it built on the widespread idea of a portable music player.

There already were:

  • Walkmans (portable cassette-based music player)
  • Discman (portabel CD-based music player)

Heck, even MP3-Player existed already—the first first portable MP3 player was launched in 1997!

Where Apple succeeded was in the excellence of the design, user interface, seamless software/hardware integration, and ecosystem surrounding the product. They took an existing concept and made it far better.

What's the takeaway?

Progress Over Gimmicks

Don't confuse novelty with innovation. Just because an idea is new doesn't mean it provides value. True innovation means serving people better. It's about understanding customers' underlying needs and creating the best possible solution.

Clever gimmicks or newness for the sake of newness won't get you far. Customers want real value, real progress. Your product or service should meaningfully improve their lives or workflow. That's how you make an impact.

Deliver Solutions in a Remarkable Way

Don't obsess over reinventing the wheel. Take inspiration from existing solutions, then refine and enhance the product experience for today's needs.

Take an existing product and ask yourself:

  • What feature can I add?
  • What feature could I remove?
  • What feature could I tweak?

Even if you don't change your product at all, you could create a business!


  • Gaps in the market
  • Overlooked audiences
  • Opportunities to customize

Muhammad Yunus is the best example that this works:

In the 1970s Yunus founded Grameen Bank in India to provide microcredit and other financial services to the poor—an overlooked audience and a real gap in the market. That way he pioneered the concept of microfinance.

While you don't have to be 100% original, you still need to execute your ideas in a truly differentiated way. Bring your personal flair.

Design beautiful, frictionless user experiences. Make it incredibly simple for customers to get value. Exceed expectations across every touchpoint.

At the end of the day, customers care about the value they can get from using your products. They want solutions—delivered remarkably. Tap into that drive for meaningful innovation, not just novelty, as you build your business. You don't have to reinvent the wheel.

Just make it spin faster (or slower), smoother, in another direction and take customers where they want to go.