I suspect we all have moments when we’re faced with a task or a challenge—big or small—that we need to address or overcome in order to move forward. It could relate to business, health, our relationships, finances, or all of the above. How we respond to these situations is a big part of who we are.

Do we try to meet the challenge head on, or do we shy away from it?

Great Ideas are usually borne out of necessity. History is replete with examples of great needs and their oftentimes even greater solutions.

  • The rapidly industrializing world of the 19th century needed reliable transportation that did not have to be fed, watered, housed, and cleaned up after, so in stepped Germany’s Karl Benz with the first gasoline powered automobile in 1885/86.
  • The world needed a less costly, more efficient way of producing said automobiles, so in stepped Henry Ford and Ford Motor Company in 1908 with the assembly line and the Model T.
  • In May 1961, President Kennedy said, “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade,” and NASA and Neil Armstrong obliged.

Almost without fail, when there’s an unmet need, there’s usually someone ready, willing, and able to fill it.


In early 2009, I suddenly found myself without a job, having literally outperformed myself out of the position. I wasn’t desperate, but the economy was tanking and I needed to make a living. I was anxious to take action and make something happen sooner rather than later.

I’m not suggesting my situation was of any great significance to anyone but me and those close to me, but it represents a time in my life when I was faced with a great need in search of a great solution. I’m sure we’ve all been there, one way or another.

Still reeling from being asked to vacate my position of VP of Marketing after a year’s worth of efforts had put my then-employer in a good enough spot to maintain the status quo with or without me (he chose the latter), I decided to step back and assess my situation.

I had lots of contacts. I had lots of experience. I was a successful project manager and product developer, well-versed in stewarding projects of all shapes and sizes from cradle to grave. I was a strong leader and team builder. I was a proven commodity. I was valuable. Yet, despite all of that, I had just made myself obsolete in the eyes of my employer. Going forward, how could I plan for my own product obsolescence (me) . . . or better yet, avoid it altogether?


Rather than trying to jump right back into what seemed might be an ongoing game of corporate roulette, I decided to ask myself, “If I need to make a living, is there another way?” The answer, of course, was (and still is) “there’s always another way.” I just had to determine what the right way was for me.

Where could I put my marketing, branding, product development, project management, and leadership expertise to work in a way that had some measure of security?

I knew I didn’t want to go to work for just any old marketing company, and especially not what I call a “slap” company, the kind of company whose slogan ought to be, “Let’s slap a logo on it and call it branding.” And I didn’t just want to jump back in the fray of leading a corporate marketing team only to get downsized or rightsized six months later if the economy didn’t rebound.

Struggling to find the answers, my entrepreneurial brain finally gave me a whack upside the head. “Paul, the answer’s been right in front of you all along!”


  • I’m both an idea person and a “doer.”
  • I enjoy developing creative solutions to real-world situations.
  • I enjoy working with talented people.
  • I enjoy leading and motivating a team.
  • I enjoy technology and the digital age we live in.
  • I like to have FUN.

The answer was so obvious. I would put my skills, expertise, and experience to work for me. I would bring together a talented team of marketing, creative, and technical people as a virtual agency in support of like-minded clients all over southern California and beyond . . . and I would name it “Barrel O’Monkeyz.”


“Necessity is the mother of invention.” (Anonymous)

In my experience, nothing ever gets solved through avoidance. It may get put off for a while, or delayed, but inevitably, every problem or issue gets addressed one way or another. Either you can choose to be in the driver’s seat and create a solution that works best for you and your situation, or you can let the situation and fate do the solving for you. I think you know where I’m at on this one!

What necessities in your life have led to great ideas? How have you stepped up to meet the unmet needs of your family, your business, your community, and even yourself?

Share your IDEAS here. There just may be an unmet need out there in want of them.