Are you curious?

are you curious, entrepreneurship, Stanford

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 – Picture: Kim

102 thoughts on “Are you curious?

  1. I do believe curiosity leads to learning new things and expanding our minds. It's fun to explore the unknown and open up new vistas in both your personal and business life. Life would be pretty boring if we weren't curious.

  2. I have a curious nature. As a child I asked continuous questions. In order to grow we must learn, in order to learn we must be inquisitive. Though we cannot focus on everything going on around the world, it is important to take an interest in matters that fall outside our own little bubble.

  3. I could not agree more with this post. You must be curious, expanding your knowledge beyond what you currently understand. When the world changes, and it does, if your concept is stagnate, this world will leave you behind. If you, or your company, is not growing, it is not moving.

  4. I agree that curiosity is important to expanding your mind and your interests. I would never have started blogging if a friend hadn't aroused my curiosity and convinced me to take a blogging course. That opened the doors to social media and so many more opportunities for business.
    My recent post The 5 Magic Keys to Employee Engagement

  5. I agree that curiosity is important for the entrepreneur’s success. I personally am very curious about other industries and what they do in relationship to marketing themselves. I have clients in 6 different industries that I work with on a regular basis and this assists me the opportunity to see the similarities and differences within the different industries and how they market themselves.

  6. Definitely curious. I enjoy learning, especially from the experiences of others. Of course, there are some topics I gravitate to more than others for reasons of interest. I am trying to gain a broader knowledge on even those subjects that do not really pull me.

    Learning should be a continual process.

  7. Curiosity is important whether you are an entrepreneur or not. I cannot imagine how dull life would be without curiosity. And it’s amazing what creative things the subconscious mind can do with the data flowing around when we let it.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

    1. 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.

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

    1. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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!!

    1. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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!


  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

    1. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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!

    1. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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

  26. 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??

    1. 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:-)

  27. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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…

  30. 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

  31. 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

  32. 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

  33. 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

  34. 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

  35. 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

  36. 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

  37. 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

  38. 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

    1. 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?

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