In this series, I have been emphasizing the importance of statistical modeling in almost every article. While there are plenty of benefits of using statistical models in a more traditional sense (refer to "Why Model?"), in the days when "too much" data is the main challenge, I would dare to say that the most important function of statistical models is that they summarize complex data into simple-to-use "scores."
When I came across the obituary of Milton Levine, it struck a chord deep within me.
Here was a 43-year-old salesman of toys and novelties watching some ants at a July 4, 1956 picnic when he suddenly saw his future—the ant farm—a 6” x 9” two-sided plastic frame with sand, tunnels and live ants busily doing their thing as mesmerized kids watch and learn.
A half-century later, kids are still enthralled with ant farms. The basic model sells for $10.99.
Last year, Levine sold his business for $20 million. His website, UncleMilton.com has a slew of wonderful scientific gadgets for kids.
Milton Levine—described by one magazine writer as “anty-establishment”―gave pleasure (and inspiration) to millions of kids, made pots of money, obviously had great fun and went to the great beyond at 97.
Life doesn’t get any better than that!
So what does a fledgling entrepreneur do following a “eureka moment?”
How do you translate an idea into a profitable business?
My suggestion: go the dry test route.
I spent 15 years creating dry tests for clients and my own little business—the WHO’S MAILING WHAT! newsletter and archive service—started out life as a dry test.
Technically the dry test is illegal, but many years ago I discovered a possible loophole.