What can you provide?

Today, you hear a lot of brand marketers asking the question, “What problem do you solve?”

It’s a question that works for a lot of people, getting them to focus more on what they do.

Fair enough. When I was in college, staring my impending graduation in the face, I asked myself a similar, but perhaps a more powerful question:

What can I provide others?

Asking myself this question made me think about my passions and figure out ways of channeling it into a service.

For instance, back in college, I was a big NBA fan (obviously still am). From years of playing fantasy basketball, watching games on TV and playing pick-up, I already had a bette-than-basic understanding of the game.

So I brainstormed different ways to provide a service to basketball fans.

Having no budget, but the good fortune of high-speed internet (my university boasted some of the fastest connection speeds in the country at the time), I found a way to stream live NBA games on my computer, upload the most dramatic/interesting moments to YouTube and use social media to share the content.

All of this was happening just as YouTube and Twitter were poised to take off. The NBA too, for that matter.

It was an immediate hit. I made a name for myself in the basketball community and NBA video clips still dominate our newsfeeds over 10 years later.

The key was to focus on what I was uniquely capable of providing. There may not be a path laid out already. That’s fine. The beauty lies in creating your own way. Using your willpower to forge a new path.