“If you’re not doing some things that are crazy, then you’re doing the wrong things.”

When Larry Page said that to Wired this month he was referring to occasions when investors thought Google was spending too much time on “crazy” ideas. Three of those ideas turned out to be YouTube, Chrome and Android.

Towards the end of last year Mary Meeker posted another one of her stellar internet trends presentations. It has racked up over one million views so far. (Which just goes to show that an 88 page PowerPoint of mostly text and graphs can be exciting.) Around slide 20 re-imagination begins and it’s worth viewing. The whole presentation, actually, could serve as a guide for re-imagination.

One of the most interesting parts, starting on slide 60, is the idea of thinking about life in the categories of asset-heavy and asset-light and how today’s most exciting ideas run to the lighter side.

Beyond this presentation, another idea that ties to such thinking is “Managed Dissatisfaction” and once you consider it, you’ll see it everywhere in different versions.

The phrase is courtesy of Nextflix’s Reed Hastings and refers to the idea that many of us are living with dissatisfaction from our products and services and don’t really think about it. Netflix cites the entertainment industry but it goes beyond that.

“The traditional entertainment ecosystem is built on it. The point of managed dissatisfaction is waiting. You’re supposed to wait for your show that comes on Wednesdays at 8pm. If it’s a movie you wait until the night it opens, you wait for the pay channel window and you wait for it to come to cable. Waiting means pent-up demand. Waiting is dead.”

Managed dissatisfaction can also be translated to mean “waste.” Whenever there is waste in the system that consumers are experiencing there is also an opportunity for re-imagination to eliminate it.

Perhaps thinking about opportunities through the lenses of asset-light and managed dissatisfaction will help increase the odds that our collective crazy ideas just might end up being what people will need.

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