Your ideas are worthless

It seems that almost daily, someone presents me with the ‘next killer app’ or idea that we should develop in exchange for a piece of the pie. From talking with peers, I am not alone. Everyone has some idea that is the next Angry Birds or Evernote. And that’s the problem. Everyone has ideas, making them happen is the differentiator.

This isn’t new. Edison wasn’t the only one with the idea for the lightbulb. Kevin Kelly wrote in his latest book What Technology Wants “It might be fairer to say that Edison was the very last ‘first’ inventor of the electric light.” In fact, there were at least 23 inventors of the light bulb before Edison. The difference, Edison made it happen.

Today, the widespread adoption of technology such as smartphones, and simplified distribution methods such as Apples App store give the appearance that it is easy to get an idea to market. I’d agree with that, if I could add one word: It is easy to get an ‘unsuccessful’ idea to market.

There are over 300,000 apps and counting on Apple’s App store. Throw in Android and other ‘app stores’ and the number jumps even higher. But the difference in the number of downloads between the popular game ‘Angry Birds’ and just about any other game is staggering. Why? Not because “Angry Birds” is necessarily a better idea, but instead because it was executed so perfectly.

Once we pop the champagne over a great idea, the real work begins. The interface, the user experience, the strategy you need to create to get the consumer to do what you want, or game theory. All of these critical items need to be hammered out before a single line of code or illustration is created.

Don’t worry about having an original idea. Instead focus on the excellence execution of an idea you love. The next time you look at something created by someone else and want to say ‘That was my idea’, don’t. Don’t sit and watch someone else create the next lightbulb. Instead turn your idea into a reality. Then you will have something of value :-).

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