View Frustration as a Magnet of Opportunity

You have a work flight. After rising early and fighting through the joys of rush-hour traffic, you’re treated to an especially long TSA line. You catch some emails while you wait in security and then again as you’re delayed 85 minutes at the gate. You’d planned to go through your presentation during the flight, but, as luck would have it, you are the beneficiary of the flying trifecta: the cougher, the chatter, AND the seat-kicking child.

How frustrating! If you’re like those of us who regularly find ourselves on commercial flights, you close your eyes and imagine completing this trip on a spacious, luxurious private jet, getting your work done in style. But alas, private aviation is only for the top .01%.

Until recently, that is. Enter Sergey Petrossov, the CEO and founder of JetSmarter. Often referred to as the “Uber of Private Jets,” this company on a stratospheric rise was born from the depths of frustration.

It all started a few years ago when Sergey tried to book a charter flight. He told me, “It felt a lot like a stock market transaction back in the 1980s. Why hasn’t this been digitized?’ I thought. I saw a huge segment that was desperate for a better solution.”

His ability to zero on in a problem that was ripe for change was the genesis of his wildly popular startup. JetSmarter is an app-oriented membership service that allows its customers to book charter flights, jump on last-minute flights, and share private jet flights, all at a fraction of the cost of owning or booking solo charters.

When Sergey dug deeper into the quicksand of frustration, he found more opportunities to optimize. Most private jets run at under 30% of their ideal usage, and there are over one million hours of unoccupied fly time wasted annually as empty planes go from one destination to pick up the next client. So his app not only streamlines and digitized the booking process, it also capitalizes on those empty and under-used planes. He’s easing the aggravation for both travelers and charter companies alike.

In your case, explore the frustrations you observe in life and they’ll lead to a heat-map of creative opportunity. Let irritation become your source of inspiration.

Sergey flipped frustration into opportunity by discovering a fresh solution to customer pain points (annoyance of commercial aviation plus high-cost of private air travel). This approach has landed over $25 million in JetSmarter’s most recent round of funding alone from A-list investors like Jay-Z. The company has taken off, and is well positioned to reach ever-increasing heights.

Take a cue from Sergey and upgrade from frustration to fruition. Even if the rarified air of private aviation isn’t yet within your reach, there’s no reason you can’t use his methods to make your life and your business first-class.

Your opportunity: now boarding.

Read More

New Thinking for the New Era of Business

Albert Einstein famously noted, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking that we used when we created them.” In our post-COVID world of ...

When an Astronaut Needs a Pen

Ever get stuck on a problem, only to realize you're solving for the wrong thing? That's exactly what happened when the rocket scientists at NASA ...

How Shake Shack Drives Innovation

Do you prefer the crispy mozzarella, tempura watercress, and black garlic mayonnaise cheeseburger or the pumpkin mustard, bacon, cranberries, and sage hot dog? For something ...

Lady Gaga’s Secret to Creativity

Just before she won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, I watched Lady Gaga dazzle the live audience with a pitch perfect performance of ...

Creativity: Does Size Matter?

For some reason, we’ve been taught that for creativity and innovation to count they need to have a magnitude the size of the 1989 San ...

The Lexicon of Creativity

There’s more confusion around the meaning of the word innovation than the chaos at the airline ticket counter after a cancelled flight. Is there a difference between ...

The Brain Science of Becoming More Creative

When we hear stories about iconic leaders like’s founder Marc Benioff, or widely celebrated virtuosos like Lin-Manuel Miranda for that matter, we immediately think ...

Correct the Overcorrect

When the misguided leaders at Enron, Tyco and Worldcom committed fraud and marred their shareholders with huge losses, the Securities and Exchange Commission rightfully swooped ...

Learning to Color

Fact: Creativity has become the most needed skill in business. It’s gone from a nice-to-have to becoming mission-critical. Fact: Creativity is a learnable skill. All humans have ...