Ideas Are Virtually Worthless


We have all discussed great ideas with friends, family members, coworkers and acquaintances. A lot of folks think they've got the next big thing rolling around in their heads. I once thought that but I was living in a fantasy and was in my early twenties. Are those the same thing?

Ideas are meant to be set free


Since then I have had the chance to evaluate my own ideas, watch ideas bloom into successful organizations and have had the opportunity to advise a lot of other people on their idea or business. There's nothing that's more fun for me than assessing the business viability and path to success for an idea. Sometimes I have to share some frank thoughts on viability and market fit but sometimes I am wrong.

Sometimes people want to have signed non-disclosure agreements(NDAs) before talking about their ideas. Those NDAs are easier than ever thanks to services like Contractually so that's not the same issue it once was. This philosophy of coveting ideas has always stuck with me when it comes to coveting ideas...



This rings true with one of my personal philosophies about writing, publishing and blogging: If you don't share your knowledge no one will know that you have it. Another personal philosophy I've developed that I share with anyone willing to listen is that ideas are worth 1% and execution is worth 99%. This makes some people a bit sad but it rings true for everyone.


Execution isn't everything


There are virtually no new ideas and being first doesn't dictate success; being the best at execution however can. Apple didn't invent or ship the first MP3 players, smartphones or tablets. AirBnB wasn't the first solution to rent your property. Facebook was far from the first social network; Bebo, Hi-5 and Friendster all existed in 2001. These businesses executed better than anyone else but they also did something else to ensure their success...

The missing ingredient in my formula was something akin to timing but not quite. Something akin to market fit but not quite. I found my answer after reading another post on LinkedIn from David Allison about the idea that everything at work and in our personal lives should go through three stages: Vision. Alignment. Execution. Alignment is the missing ingredient. Whether we are deciding where to go on our family vacation, where to go for lunch or which software solutions to purchase as a company to execute successfully on our vision or idea we much find alignment before we execute.


Ideas are virtually worthless


I have a new philosophy: ideas are 1% of success while execution and alignment are 99% of success. Ideas are virtually worthless. Your great idea has most likely been thought of before and more than likely someone has attempted to execute on it but they have missed the mark on alignment and execution. That's where your opportunity and success can be found.
I am hopeful that you now have a much better idea of what goes into that red box. Thanks for reading!

I'd love to hear your thoughts, scathing reviews, corrections, ideas and questions.

Additional Reading: Ben Parr's astute assessment of the question: "I am creating the next Facebook and need funding. What steps should I take next?"

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