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Shark Week: How Great Ideas Can Originate on Napkins

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We're halfway through America's annual television obsession, Shark Week. Believe it or not, the whole idea originally came out of some impromptu brainstorming among several Discovery Channel executives hanging out at a bar after work. After an offhand remark invoking the now-infamous title for the first time, a producer told The Atlantic last summer, "somebody in that nexus scribbled it down on a napkin. You know how that is. An idea in a bar comes from many fathers."

It's not the only famous creation that found its first inklings on an ordinary napkin. JK Rowling notably wrote her first ideas for Harry Potter on a napkin on a British train. Since you never know where and when inspiration will hit, or when it will strike again, it's important to document these moments when they arrive, and at times, the humble napkin is the best available easel. Here's a look at five other big companies, inventions, and ideas launched from some basic napkin art.

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