Although not clearly visible, something may be wrong with this picture. Indeed, did you know that monkeys peel bananas from the bottom up (well to make things even more confusing this is the other way round since bananas grow upside down)? Anyway! If you assume that monkeys are banana experts (not a bold assumption to make), how can it be that we, clever humans, have it all wrong for so many years?
This is not a joke or some kind of "I love to turn conventional wisdom upside down" trick. This question has been dealt with by University of Rochestor Professor of Economics Steven E. Landsburg in Slate.
Now the reason I am referring to Landsburg's banana obsession is not to add my own explanation or yours (by the way if you have one post a comment here, I'll pass it on to Landsburg) but to illustrate a principle, namely that of symmetry. This principle is much useful as it can spark very creative processes. It is simple and boils down to the question "what if we were doing it the other way round. " We used a version of this principle in an earlier post on this blog. Yale University Professors Ayres and Nalebuff use it extensively in their Why Not? book and on their related website.
Examples: Why do we have ATM machines where we can get money even if we are not customers of the bank where the ATM is located while we cannot do the same when we want to deposit money in the same kind of ATM?
Why is that telemarketers who call us on the phone to ask us questions don't use a number which would credit our bank account, thus paying us for our time that so far they consume for free. I can see dozens of benefits doing so.
Think of Dutch auctions: Instead of proposing higher and higher prices, the auctionner does the reverse and the bidder who wins is the one who steps in first (as opposed to last in "traditional" auctions).
Applying this way of looking at things and people is indeed a unique way of creating new ideas, new business opportunities.
When I was an investment banker, I did realize that it was easier (to a certain extent of course) to buy from my clients than to sell to them. This is not that obvious when you think that army of fellows on trading floors are called salespeople not buypeople!
Well, a blogger somehow abides to the symmetry principle being both at the same time his or her own publishing company and the author.
Now, I wonder whether venture capitalists are fond of the symmetry principle. But what I am sure of is that this principle can be an inextinguishible source of inspiration and...business plans.