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Ideas, Execution, and the Rare Auteur
Merlin Mann | Aug 11 2008
Derek Sivers' short blog post from 2005 has been making the rounds lately -- it came to me via Chairman Gruber -- and I have to say, I can't stop thinking about it. I think this is really profound thinking around the fundamental misunderstanding many people have about the value of ideas.
In a nutshell, Derek says ideas are valuable only inasmuch as they can be multiplied by execution. So, if you remember your 3rd grade arithmetic, you can figure out the product of even the most fantastic idea when it's multiplied by zero execution.
I, too, frequently encounter this attitude of "Sign the NDA! Sign the NDA!" any time someone wants to tell me about their squirrelly idea for making a bajillion dollars on the internet, and I almost always end up saying the same six things to The Idea Men:
It's amazing how many sociopaths are out there dashing around, playing entrepreneur, and yelling into a phone about drilling-down -- with what appears to be no idea how to actually get something amazing to market.
They sing themselves little songs and tell themselves little stories over ciabatta sandwiches and Excel, rhapsodizing about their personal Candyland where everybody starts using their goofy product because... just...because. It's crazy. And it's everywhere.
As I sit here today, I'm more convinced than ever that:
"auteur * (2x execution) = awesome"
An idea is no more useful than a coupon for a bag of sugar; show me the finished cake, then we'll talk.
The bottom line is that if you don't have an amazing, passionate idea and the means to make it superb, you're probably just a douchebag with an expensive phone. And a stack of NDAs.
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