Home Entrepreneurship Seeing opportunities in crisis – A Tale of French Fries Innovation

Seeing opportunities in crisis – A Tale of French Fries Innovation

It is quite amusing to see the quality of entrepreneurs the society produces these days – individuals who are not interested in pioneering innovations or setting it up new businesses simply because ‘economy is bad.’
This calls to mind how some of America’s greatest entrepreneurs made their mark in the last ten decades.
One of the great, big tycoons that came out of the years of depression is a guy called John Richard (“J.R.”) Simplot. He recognized that as things went bad with the recession, people would stop eating caviar and filet mignon (cute fillet) and will be turning to what economists call inferior goods; stepping down in their consumption. And the most inferior of inferior goods then were potatoes.
“Potatoes were literally lying on the streets of Idaho; everywhere. But the potatoes were not well preserved. So he started thinking of a way to preserve potatoes so that people can eat them any time, to at least fill their stomachs in those difficult times. Just eat potatoes, fill your stomach and move on.
“Then he found a property of potatoes which is that if you extract the water in them, it can almost stay for a long time without any problem. And all you just need to get it back is to put it back in water and it will regain that property. So he cut potatoes into small bits and stuffed them in diets, inventing what has become known as French Fries.
“He met with a man called Ray Kroc who took over McDonald’s and made it huge multinational. From taking an inferior good he became a billionaire coming out of a recession. 
So what is the point, you may ask. The bottomline remains the fact that it is high time we learned to look for opportunities even in the most difficult of times. There are opportunities everywhere if we really aim to make a difference in people’s lives—that is creating values where none existed previously
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Adebayo Folorunsho-Francis is a communicator, Journalist, blogger, business coach and, of course, a prolific writer. He has Dip (Journalism) and B.A. (History & International Relations) from the Lagos State University (LASU). The self-effacing young man has worked for national, regional and local newspapers. He had worked with THISDAY covered community news for ISLAND NEWS and corresponded with P.M. NEWS (evening tabloid). Presently, he is the editor of CITYPULSE MEDIA and senior correspondent of PHARMANEWS, West Africa foremost health and pharmaceutical journal.


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