After having been around the big long tech start-up block once now, I’ve learned a lot and seen a lot. One of the sobering realities I’ve learned is that ideas are a dime a dozen and that 99% of the time, they serve as decoys and distractions more than visions and missions. However, thats never stopped me – or others – from pouring our hearts and minds into brewing up and investing repeatedly in ideas. And somehow we always believe that they are revolutionary. I must admit that I’m still looking for good ones and trying to make the ones I have better. In a few words, I’d like to reconcile my seeming hypocrisy with a simple explanation.
Firstly, ideas are a dime a dozen, but good ideas are really quite rare. That right there accounts for the majority of the dead-ends and collapses that come out of pursuing ideas. However, the more important reality to reveal is that our ideas (or at the least, our aspirations for them to be great) are invariably just extensions of our ego. Its this part that distracts our focus from being judicious and honest, and its this part that is the foundation of the idea mythology: that a good idea (or should I say… it’s author) will be successful by virtue of its own greatness.
Its rarely ever true (I won’t say “never” because there is probably one exception out there). The way we understand and think about ideas is wrong. Specifically, we don’t recognize the difference between visions and plans. Visions are two-dimensional snapshots of an imaginary future and they serve an equally important – and yet limited – functionality: to specify a direction. They, however, do nothing. People, money, resources, plans and actions… “do”. Those “doing” plans are the difference between a good, dead idea and a good, alive idea.
I could go on in much more length, but I believe the basic point stands on its own. This is the reason why any wise entrepreneur, investor or advisor will emphasize “execution”. A mediocre idea with great execution will go far further than a great idea with mediocre execution.