Great Ideas Suck, Part I

Lightbulb As a Rock Star, you need new ideas. Can you think of any Rock Stars that only play covers?

The thing is, there are lots of great ideas. They are common. I come up with enough great ideas in a year to last a lifetime, and great ideas are generally useless.

“Ideas are a dime a dozen. People who implement them are priceless.” –Mary Kay Ash, Founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc.

Sitting on an idea, and mulling it over for minutes or years, doesn’t do you or anyone much good.

That’s just like having an idea for a great song, and maybe a few lyrics and chords in your mind. Unless you write and play that song, it simply doesn’t matter. You’ll probably end up forgetting about it anyways.

Starting but never finishing is also . . .

And starting to implement an idea, but never quite finishing it, doesn’t do any good either. Seth Godin, author, deep thinker, and incredibly creative bald dude, uses the term “shipping.” If you do not “ship” you accomplish nothing. Of course “shipping” may not involve shipping anything physically, but does involve releasing your creation (whatever it may be) to the world.

Side Note: Nothing is ever “perfect.” Your creations will never be perfect. Do not let perfect be the enemy of “good enough.” When it is good enough, whether it is software, a administrative process for checking credentials, a new mousetrap, an ebook, a manifesto, or a piece of art, release it to the world!

Now the reason the above is a “side note” is that most ideas never even get near the point in implementation that they could remotely be shipped – most remain mere ideas.

So, you got this great idea you want to implement (maybe writing a book on being an Infosec Rock Star, opening a belly button lint museum, drinking every whiskey made in the USA and blogging it all, starting a charity for the hair impaired, or maybe something  truly stupid like trying to sell books on Internet), what do you do?

Concrete Steps

Concrete Steps (in case you were wondering)

Concrete Steps towards Success:

There are some concrete things you can do to help your idea become real, actually get implemented, actually “Ship.”

1)      Write it down! Kind of a mini business plan. I’m partial to cocktail napkins myself, at least initially. Even if you lose the napkin, the process of writing it down helps to make it real in your mind.

2)      Do NOT over complicate it. The first version can be good, and if the world thinks it rocks or you are sure it will, v2.0 can be way better. Think Microsoft and Windows v1.0 – you don’t remember Windows 1.0? Few people do as it sucked, but the idea grew with time. So can your idea. Of course best if it doesn’t “suck” initially (maybe you can call it a “proof of concept” or similar to lower expectations?)

3)      Share the idea with others. Forget the standard paranoia that someone will “steal” your idea. There are plenty of ideas, and if someone “steals” it, well, be proud and trounce them in the marketplace! Charles Caleb Colton (whoever the hell that was) said “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

4)      Let your idea morph as others weigh in with input. It just may become a “new and improved” idea. Conversely, if everyone says your idea is inane, insane, stoooopid, or worse, listen but be prepared to ignore the naysayers. What, you want to sell books on the Internet? That’s a stupid idea, it’ll never work. People want to pick up and feel a book and leaf through it before they buy it.

5)      Schedule time to work on it. This may need to be nights (skip the boob tube once in a while) or weekends or lunches if you have a full time job. And put the time ON your schedule!

6)      Set deadlines, perhaps slightly rough, and share them with others to help keep you accountable. This “deadlines shared with others” is often critical to success (or “shipping”).

Part II, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly


3 Responses to “Great Ideas Suck, Part I”

  1. Happy says:

    I have sooo many good ideas, and if I implement/execute a couple a year, even if imperfectly, I’m a happy man!

    • Ted Demopoulos says:

      Yup, doing a very few things a year . . . there is no perfect . . . just starting and finishing . . . even though it is an imperfect finish like everything in the Universe. It’s the difference between Rock Star potential and merely Dreamers

  2. Mitch says:

    Don’t overcomplicate it – I will remember that. Always my problem, and that of a great many technical people as well

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