Barry Nalebuff asks, “Why not?”


This still timely talk by Yale professor and businessman Barry Nalebuff is about business opportunity in the habitual turning of things on their head and improvement of our experiences by asking, “Why not?”. It’s an excellent 55:55 minute thought lab on business that whizzes by.

In line with Barry’s previous book and talk is his website an online thought lab on “How to Use Everyday Ingenuity to Solve Problems Big and Small” where people enter and explore business and product ideas and share feedback. Game changer take-aways and talk highlights include:

Add coffee to milk, not milk to coffee:
Dunkin donuts saved countless pieces of plastic and labor hours by simply adding coffee to milk—therefore requiring no stirring or stirrers—vs. the opposite

Modify educational transcripts to be like those of Indiana University (IU):
IU transcripts dis-incentivise grade inflation by including not just the student’s grade, but

  • the total distribution of grades received by all students of the class
  • the total distribution of grades granted by the particular professor in that course for all sections
  • the average grade granted by department
  • the average GPA of other students in class in their other courses
  • the percentage of students in the class who were majors

Employ a formal devil’s advocate committee for internal projects:
This creates a shoot-em-up that enriches ultimate internal project valuation—even potentially eliminating some projects

Motorized lollipop spinner is right answer to wrong question—becomes P&G electric toothbrush motor

Offer insurance policy against losing money on a home:
(already implemented in Syracuse, NY)
When you know there’s insurance against losing money in home, you’re more likely to buy
Housing market responds well to reduced risk

Offer a maternity MBA:
Reduce friction costs for women wishing to have a baby and earn MBAs w/ onsite child care and longer MBA plans

We must be the change we seek in the world

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