Some say that ideas are more or less worthless. It’s the execution that matters. While I can understand the sentiment behind this, I think worthless goes a bit too far. People who easily generate new ideas often have a tendency to discount the value of ideas since they are so prevalent in their daily life. For others, ideas do not come easy at all, so they may perceive them to be more valuable. I sometimes talk to people who say…I have the time and ability to build something, but I don’t know what to build. I find this hard to fathom, but it’s true! 🙂
Paul Graham gives voice to the common ideas vs. execution mantra in his helpful essay, What Startups are Really Like:
One reason people overreact to competitors is that they overvalue ideas. If ideas really were the key, a competitor with the same idea would be a real threat. But it’s usually execution that matters…
YCombinator has even posted a Request for Startups recently, with the plan to seed ideas to startup teams who are wanting to make a go of it, but may be lacking in the idea department.
I tend more towards the side of the argument that says that execution > ideas because there is a huge difference between someone who simply has an idea and someone who develops, ships, and iterates on a product until they really have something that customers want. Yes, that is a different thing entirely.
I generally think up new ideas each day (usually while walking the dog or some other meditative activity). I’ll scratch them down on paper or into my computer, or maybe register a domain, but very few of my ideas ever see the light of day. Mostly this is from a lack of time, as I have a full-time job, a young and growing family, and am a bit of a community organizer. I have built a few Twitter apps on the side, such as SnapTweet, DoesFollow, and WhereBeYou, and I intend to keep creating. The act of creation is vital.
I’m finally going to do something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Instead of letting my ideas languish on various notepads, text files, and OmniOutliner documents, I’ll be documenting the ideas here on my blog.
Here’s the current Idea List.
Please let me know what you think in the comments of the posts or hit me up on Twitter. I’d like to continually keep the posts up to date with any implementations that people find (or create!), so please let me know if you see any out in the wild (or build something yourself).