Great Ideas Suck, Part II, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

In Part I, I wrote about how there are so many great ideas out there, that they are common and hence pretty worthless. What is not common is a great idea that is actually implemented.

In other words, getting off your butt and doing something, bringing that idea to fruition, implementing it, “shipping” it as Seth Godin says.

Of course I left out something obvious:

Road Kill Cafe

I’d love to open a restaurant, but that is probably a BAD idea!

  • It’s not that you can’t do (implement) all your great ideas, although that is certainly true. We all have exactly 24 hours a day. Picking the best ideas is important, but often not as important as moving forwards, not as important as avoiding stagnation.
  • It’s not that THEY won’t let you. Maybe that’s true, but maybe you are in the wrong place, or maybe you do NOT need permission. My first boss in computers told me “It’s easier to get forgiveness than it is to get permission” and sometimes that absolutely applies.  And of course you may need to think beyond the confines of your current job or life if the idea is particularly earth shattering.
  • It’s not that you may not know “how” to do it. You can figure that out or get help. And some ideas, although you canstart them yourself, may, just may, need a team to come to full fruition.
  • It’s not that some ideas are impossible to implement. Some may be, but I’ve done a few things people told me were impossible and you probably have too, whether individually, or as a member of a team.

Quite simply it is that some ideas that seem like great ideas are actually not remotely great. Some ideas are actually bad ideas. Duhhh 🙂

Often we learn more from our failures than from our successes.

This does NOT mean that trying out the idea is bad. Often we learn more from our failures than from our successes. I certainly have.

For example a friend of mine always wanted to work for a startup. She had always worked for big established companies before. I didn’t think she was suited to the chaos and near anarchy of startups, and I was right, but the fact that she joined a startup was fantastic. It was a positive experience in the whole.

Still, Some Ideas are Bad or Worse: Downright Ugly!

Now let’s look at some probably horrible ideas, even though they might work out.

Definitely Ugly: Armed robbery, for example robbing a bank gangster style, is an ugly idea. Maybe it’ll work: maybe no one gets hurt and you get a lifetimes supply of moola. But it’s a ugly.

Becoming a cyber criminal and many of us have or can develop the skills to pull this one off, is probably an ugly idea. I certainly think it is! It’s beyond bad. But it might work out well. Maybe you can steal from the unethical rich and give to the poor, but may I politely suggest you do not try this one.

Probably Bad: Attempting to date your kid’s babysitter is probably a bad idea too, although it might work out and may not be illegal depending on their age. Maybe you’ll live happily ever after, but don’t count on it. I offer no advice on this one!

So the above ugly and bad ideas involved ethics, and ethics admittedly sometimes have enormous grey areas.

There are plenty of other ideas that are not good as well. I’m sure you can think of plenty of examples.  I’ll give you just one.

Bad: I love to cook and am an absolute foodie. My taking my life savings and opening a funky restaurant featuring my cooking is a very bad idea. I’d love to do it, but  . . .

So, you have a great idea (you think), what do you do?

Move forward. Talk to people and get others input (but be prepared to ignore it sometimes). Take baby steps. Forward motion.

Good Idea? Is writing a book on being a Infosec Rock Star a good idea? Writing a book requires a significant investment of time (I know, I’ve written books).  Writing a book is not generally financially rewarding either, unless maybe you are Dan Brown.

  • But getting input from others on this idea is simple (done, and still getting input).
  • And in this/my case giving a handful of talks to very different audiences to see how much interest there may be and how the idea is received  is very simple (done, positive all around, and ongoing). Sort of an “alpha” release.
  • And starting this site to put my ideas into words as time permits is not a big deal either. Closer to a “beta” perhaps.

Of course you may need eventually to commit to finishing, with some sort of deadline.

Remember, forward progress. Keep moving. You can start with baby steps. And yes, there is NEVER a perfect time so just get your butt in gear!

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