Are you curious?

If not, you are missing out, at least according to Steve Blank, serial entrepreneur and Stanford consulting associate professor. Devote 1 minute to listening to him explaining the importance of curiosity:

Want to succeed as an entrepreneur? Then you need to have curiosity into industries and issues not even related to what you do. Really be curious and want to know more about everything.

A constant stream of data flowing in is crucial in order to think outside the box. When all is put together by your subconcious you will come up with innovative ideas you would not otherwise have had.


Do you agree that a constant flow of information about everything under the sun enables us to think outside the box?

Curiosity killed the cat?

No that’s not the way it works if you want to develop in life.

How can you grow as a person and/or entrepreneur if you don’t want to know about everything under the sun? Almost all children are curious, but many lose that ability as they grow older. So if you have, maybe it’s time to start asking questions again and find out about new areas and issues to enable your creativity to flow?

Do you agree with Steve Blank that curiosity is an important attribute for entrepreneurs who want to have more eye openers? Do you want to find out and learn on a continouos basis? Are you able to mix all kinds of information and come up with something you wouldn’t otherwise have thought of? Is asking questions your way of finding out how things work and why? Is internet helpful to you? Or are you of the opinion that curiosity killed the cat and that you have enough information? 

Video: Stanforbusiness – You Tube

88 comments to Are you curious?

  • Marcos  says:

    Your articles are just amazing Catarina!! take care! Marcos

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      Thank you Marcos. Glad you like them!

      • Marcos  says:

        I always do!! You're such an intelligent woman!! take care!

        • catarinaalexon  says:

          Thank you for your kind comment, Marcos.

  • Doreen Pendgracs  says:

    Hi Catarina: As a journalist, it is my business to be curious. I am constantly asking questions and have a deep desire to expand my world (and my perspective of it) by engaging with people from other cultures and backgrounds. That's what I love so much about travel. It enable me to see different cultures and religions in operation from a firsthand perspective. And by seeing it and becoming somewhat immersed in it, I can better understand it.
    My recent post musing about my muse

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      Good for you Doreen. Started my career as a journalist and, I suppose, that made me even more curious:-) Without curiosity would I have lived, worked and integrated all over the world?

  • Lubna  says:

    Curiosity in the right measure and in the right direction is important. It helps improve one's own knowledge and also share knowledge. After all knowledge is power. Yet, it is also possible to drown in information overload. One should know the difference between useful information and and endless bout of information and be able to sift through and aim at obtaining only the useful information from reliable and right sources.
    My recent post The Living Room

  • Jon Jefferson  says:

    I remember hearing some time ago, the day you stop learning is the day you die. I know for me, I endeavor to learn as much as possible from many different sources.
    My recent post Questions of Note: Amy Sherman

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      Yes Jon. As far as I'm concerned the day I stop learning I'm dead. Seriously I mean it:-)

  • Geek Girl  says:

    I must agree. I think curiosity is an essential element in how you approach anything. What you learn in one area may possibly apply in another. Not only that but curiosity will keep your mind active as you age. Very important in combating age associated brain issues.
    My recent post Fun Friday

  • Susan Oakes  says:

    I love being curious and it brings out the inner child in you. To not drown in information over load I combine the curiosity with simple questions to make sure it is relevant to my business and customers. I also think if you are not curious then you can miss out on opportunities.
    My recent post How A Simple Marketing Idea Grew Sales

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      Good points Susan. However, sometimes something that is not exactly what we do makes a difference when combined with the knowledge we have.

  • findingourwaynow  says:

    I must agree that curiosity is an essential part of successful entrepreneurship. One cannot be confined to a box and continue to move forward. Curiosity fosters new ideas and concepts. New ideas and concepts lead to innovation. Innovation leads to new opportunities, growth, and success.

    Love the post :-)
    My recent post Gently Falling Leaves: Story

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      True Susan. What would life be like if we didn't want to know more:-)

  • becc03  says:

    I honestly had not thought about it before, but I agree. It is a great reminder to me. I think I have stopped asking questions and bliss out too often. This may well be why I have felt stunted of late. Thank you for the timely reminder :)
    My recent post Christmas Gratitude

  • agstorm  says:

    Nice points made. I'm a teacher, and people should never stop learning.

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      Definitely. The day I stop learning I'm dead, I sincerely hope:-)

  • Jeannette Paladino  says:

    I totally agree. When I decided to go back to writing full time, I became curious about social media. I took a blogging course and starting blogging. Then I took courses to learn about LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media. Before I knew it I had a business. It wasn't intentional but as the result of the constant inflow of data that Steve Blank mentions. All of a sudden a good idea pops into your head without you're even thinking about it.
    My recent post EMC Promotes Employee Engagement on Social Media as Good for Business

  • Shawn Hessinger  says:

    Hi Catarina,
    I've always put a great deal of stock in both creativity and curiosity…and, as Blank says, I've always believed the most creative and innovative people have a curiosity ranging far beyond their own fields. Steve Jobs' oft publicized interest in typography, for example, gave us personal computers with beautiful fonts and a totally different publishing model. Who would have expected this from a computer, often thought of before the Apple as a glorified calculator or a giant file cabinet for storing and retrieving data? There are many other examples from inside and outside entrepreneurship, but one basic principle is this: Little innovation comes from those who lack the ability to ask "what if…?" and who stay within the confines of what is standard practice for their industry or field.
    My recent post Creating Your Own Content for Your Blog

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      Glad you believe in the importance of curiosity, Shawn.

  • Sandrine RAKOTOVAO  says:

    Thank you for your post, I have just discovered it. I shall also remind to my teenager kids to be always curious because life will be more interesting for them. Fortunately, they have today Internet to find informations of everything they wish to know about. Yes, curiosity is something we have to always keep in mind, either children or adults. Have a nice day, all! Sandrine

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      Glad we agree Sandrine. Good idea to remind you kids.

  • GuyW  says:

    I couldn't agree more, Catarina. The danger of focusing your knowledge/attention entirely on the environment in which you work is you miss the opportunities to make those leaps that will set your business apart from the rest. The wider your range of interests, the more easily you will "connect the dots" to make for a compelling and winning business. And it goes without saying that a wide range of interests makes for more interesting people, too…

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      Thanks Guy for agreeing about the importance of focusing on a lot of issues in order to, as you say, "connect the dots" in innovative ways.

  • Keyuri Joshi  says:

    What a brilliant concept to write about. So many people are naturally curious while others aren't. Do you think that they just put curiousity on the backburner to the easier option of complacency?
    My recent post Mom? Dad? Do You Have the Courage to Just Say No?

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      Thank you Keyuri. Don't you think the majority of children are curious? Then when they grow up they lose the ability due to upbringing, education, what society expects of us and so forth. And they opt for being complacent. It's easier so in a way it is a conciouos move. But mainly it happens without them noticing that curiosity has gone out the window. It's a pity though because it also means that innovation and creativity becomes much harder for them.

      Having said that I think maybe the most important thing said in the video is that we should be curious about everything under the sun. Not just what we normally pay attention to. That allows us to put the dots together and come up with innovative ways forward.

  • patweber  says:

    When he talked about having a constant data stream flowing, I was reminded of the History Channel series my husband and I have been watching, The Men Who Built America. They have the commentators who are current day entrepreneurs commenting on the capitalist entrepreneurs like Vanderbilt, Carnegie, etc. One of the commentators mentioned what makes them unique, and entrepreneurs like them, is they are looking differently at things changing and looking all the time. Then they think, how can I make a business out of that. Very – curious.
    My recent post Are interruptions detrimental to our creativity? The true costs of helping our colleagues.

  • A.K.Andrew  says:

    Curiosity is essential to life, never mind about being an entrepeneur. How boring would life be without it. New avenues and constant learning, to me are a must.

  • @RHBDaveHowlett  says:

    I enjoy curious people – they are unstuck in their ways.

  • catarinaalexon  says:

    Thank you Bindhurani. That's very nice of you.

  • JeriWB  says:

    Curiosity is at the heart of academic inquiry. Unfortunately, school systems and other social institutions tend to shut curiousity down rather than allow it to bloom.
    My recent post Writer’s Workout: Loop Writing

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      True Jeri. However, most children are curious. So instead of being complacent due to upbringing we can all dust off curiosity and start finding out again. Just a question of really wanting to.

      • JeriWB  says:

        It is possible to re-ignite our curiosity with effort if has been squelched, but often students and citizens don't even realize that is the case. I often wonder what made me super-curious whereas my sisters are not.

        • catarinaalexon  says:

          Agree with you, Jeri. Most likely your sister inherited different genes?:-)

  • @gaili  says:

    curiosity derives from the fact that you dont see teh whole picture and that you dont hold the truth in your pocket_

  • keverett  says:

    Catrina, great article. I believe that constant learning, usually pushed by curiosity, is a integral ingredient to creativity. My most enjoyed activities are those that challenge me to pull from many different disciplines to create a valuable solution….. Then I feel happily justified in spending all that time reading and learning about off-career areas. I believe that the innovator with a broad background in many areas is better positioned to be a valuable crossfunctional creative force than any single subject "expert" engineer, scientist, or academic. I know broad ranging interests can appear to some to be dissipation, but it really is, in my opinion, one of the most life-enhancing journeys one can undertake.

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      Thank you K. Everett. Glad you like it and are like Steve consider important when it comes to curiosity.

  • andleebakhlaqkhan  says:

    Its very nice post.

    I am always very curious about stuff and I feel that my curiosity has always helped me to know and learn something different. It surly helps you think out of box and come up with an idea that no one thinks. I agree with the Steve bank that it is necessary for entrepreneurs.
    All of us know about Newton’s apple story. I think if Newton would not have been curious about this phenomena we must not have done so much progress in technology.

    I wonder, as all know that children are very curious but why is that, many leave that habit when grow old??

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      Glad you agree with me, Andleeb. Try to look at the post you wrote last week from a different perspective in order to think out of the box. When you wrote that one you were definitely in a box due to your background and where you are now:-)

  • Susan P Cooper  says:

    Curiosity is so essential when it comes to achieving any kind of entrepreneurial success. Curiosity fosters many ideas, inventions and much of the technology we have today. All these new things lead to more innovation which then leads to even more new opportunities, growth, and success. So I say viva curiosity. :-)
    My recent post Venetian Moon Pinot Grigio: #Wine

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      Yep Susan, where would we be without curiosity?

  • lenie5860  says:

    I do believe it’s important to keep asking questions and to keep learning although I never thought about it the way Steve Blank described it. But it makes sense that the more information you store, the more your subconscious has to choose from. When I was finished listening to him, I kind of thought of having a load of thoughts all swirling together and when the swirling stopped, something unique was formed.

  • Jenpatwy  says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with Doreen. As a writer, it is so important to stay curious so you can develop your knowledge set and gradually improve your writing style. It’s a bit like cooking, more ingredients can greatly enhance the taste of a dish. Only through being curious and creative can you develop new and exciting flavours.

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      Glad you agree, Jen. Whatever we want to succeed with in life curiosity really helps.

  • Noelle McNamara  says:

    Lovely post. Yes curiousity is essential in all aspects of life..having an open mind and asking questions are key.

  • jacquiegum  says:

    Love this Catarina! Curiosity, in my mind, is one of the most important things in life! But from a business standpoint, I think some of the most innovative ideas in my company came from "outside eyes" as I called them. Folks who brought valuable insight to us from another industry that we could adapt. BUT…curiosity has to be the forerunner. You'll never know unless you ask:) Good one!

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      Thank you, Jacqueline. The valuable insights from the outside could actually come from the inside if you are curious enough and absorb information about everything under the sun. Suddenly you have a realization that you could adapt x to your business, even it it's not the logical and normal thing to do.

  • Cheryl  says:

    Curiosity keeps us growing and our minds active and healthy. So while it may be a good trait for an entrepreneur, it is essential for anyone who wants to keep their mind healthy and sharp as they age.

  • Laila Raza  says:

    A great post! I am a lifelong learner, because of my curiosity about things I love knowing about them. This habit of mine has helped me in gaining knowledge of different fields and so can converse with people from different professional backgrounds.

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      Glad you agree, Laila. The difference between education and knowledge is experience. When we are curious we get so much more experience and understand the reasons behind

  • William Rusho  says:

    I think curiosity, and an interest in other topics is vital. There are numerous accounts of entrepreneurs who moved from one field to another. If you think of the word Winchester, you imagine the classic riffle of the old west, but this was not the initial case. Oliver Winchester was a clothing manufacturer, but saw an opportunity and bought the company that made the riffle, and as they say, the rest is history.

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      Absolutely, William. If you are not interested in everything under the sun you are less likely to succeed.

  • Mary  says:

    Great article about curiosity, Catarina! I look forward to reading more.

  • Ken Dowell  says:

    Without curiosity, you're standing still. It is probably one of the single greatest attributes of the Internet that it feeds your curiosity by placing this avalanche of information at your fingertips.

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      Absolutely, Ken. Was personally really curious long before the internet, though. In those days being curious really made you stand out and was one of the reasons I lived and worked on top levels all around the world. To find out you had to do much more than just get online.

  • bethnieb  says:

    I am very curious and I love getting to know new clients because I always learn about something new from them. I’m not much of a tv fan but I do enjoy channels such as the History channel which tell about all sorts of things I don’t know. I think being curious also helps me to get to the crux of what my clients really want.

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      Yes, Beth, curiosity is definitely essential.

  • patamsden  says:

    Interesting topic Catarina. I always tend to be interested by all kinds of seemingly arcane and obscure information and I think A writer that's essential. That's a characteristic my character, Maxine from my Death By Chocolate shares with me but it gets her into trouble sometimes. Because when you start investigating murders curiously really can kill the cat! Fortunately she's survived so far.

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      Glad you are curious, Pat. When it comes to murders, well that's a different story isn't it.

  • Tim  says:

    Curiosity sits right there next to passion when it comes to entrepreneurship. It fuels the fire that must be present to push you through the times when things are not going so well. Curiosity, passion, and persistence are three ingredients to maintain most any plan of action.

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      True, Tim, but you forget determination:-)

  • halfeatenmind  says:

    If necessity is the mother of invention, then surely curiosity must be the father :D. As much as people think of being curious as, well, childish, it is that sense of witnessing something, trying to understand it and then actually figuring it out that helps us innovate and expand, both in our imaginations and in society. So, yeah, I would say it’s good to keep being curious. You never know where it might lead you.

    Thanks for sharing, Catarina!


  • Donna Janke  says:

    Curiosity is important in all aspects of life. It makes us productive and keeps life interesting. It makes sense that it is important to entrepreneurs. I like Steve Blank's description of a constant stream of data flowing into your mind and running around like a neural network. It is when I sit back and let that flow happen that I get my best ideas as a writer.
    My recent post Living Statues

  • Ozzie Paez  says:

    He is on point, at least with me. I was keenly interested in his comments on how patterns in varying fields provide insights within a given area. I have often pointed out that a structural weakness in the Western educational paradigm is its focus on narrow and deep study. As we move from (in the US) Bachelor to Master and then PhD, we learn more and more about less and less. My own work on how people and organizations use information to make decisions strongly suggest that in fields such as decision-making one needs to cast a wider net to integrate insights from information management, engineering, psychology, sociology, etc. Great points in this short video!!

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      Glad you agree, Ozzie. Where would we be if we were not curious about everything under the sun. We then tie one thing together with another and come up with something innovative. An SVP of HR in a multinational corporation once said to me that MBA's are completely over rated. If someone works with say engineering reading about for instance clothes could give him an idea that results in something that carves out a new niche for his company.

  • pgc4950  says:

    We're born curious. A toddler doesn't need an incentive to touch, taste, smell anything in his or her path. In the United States, children's curiosity is diminished by the as soon as they attend school. Education administrators force students to comply with a set standards and norms.

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      Exactly, Pamela. But not only do outside influences determine if you stay curious or not genetics play a role as well.

  • Ajay  says:

    Entrepreneurs are supposed to be curious, or they should be curious. It helps you experience new things and take the next leading step accordingly.

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      Yes, Ajay. But far from all entrepreneurs are. Mainly because there is a huge difference between having an entrepreneurial mind and carrying out entrepreneurial activity. The latter anyone can do but the former is genetic.

      • Ajay  says:

        I agree!

  • Arleen  says:

    I totally agree with Steve Blank. I feel that I have data flowing in my brain all the time and for some reason I can't get enough. To some extent I wish I wasn't so curious and asked so many questions, then I could sleep at night.
    My recent post Marketing Lessons from Taylor Swift

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      Glad you do, Arleen. It's crucial.:-)

  • Eileen Layno  says:

    Curiosity is what made our world as it is today. New lands where discovered by those people who were curious enough to know that lies beyond the vast ocean. My niece is in college majoring in Entrepreneurship. She’s a sophomore and this early, she is always on the look out for new products to develop and sell.

    • catarinaalexon  says:

      Absolutely, Eileen. Let's hope your niece has an entrepreneurial mind and is not just carrying out entrepreneurial activity. The latter anyone can do, the former is genetic and is what makes people take huge risks.

  • John  says:

    Yes I am curious and see it as very valuable. I have written about that belief before.

    I do think many very curious people are not interested in plenty of stuff under the sun. There is so muuuuuuch it is easy to be very curious about many things and not curious about much more.

  • catarinaalexon  says:

    Glad you agree, Donna.

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