Scott Adams: Ideas vs. Execution

from the you-got-it dept

For many years, we've pointed out over and over and over and over and over again, that ideas are easy, whereas execution is hard. People get way too hung up on ideas, but lots of people have ideas, and no two people (or groups of people) are likely to execute in the same way. And, for anyone who's ever built up a success, you quickly learn that execution is everything. The initial ideas are usually completely meaningless. Apparently Scott Adams is thinking the same way. Andrew F was the first of a whole bunch of you to have sent in his recent blog post on the "value of ideas" which highlights this point, specifically with regards to people complaining about the idea of a Dilbert movie:
Movies are good or bad because of execution, not concept. Even outside of the movie realm, ideas generally have no economic value whatsoever, except in rare cases such as when a patent is issued. And even in those cases it's the patent law that creates the value, not the ideas.
From there, he goes on to point to a whole series of huge success stories... all of which probably sound like terrible ideas on paper:
I've long been fascinated by the common human illusion that ideas can be sorted into good and bad, when all experience shows this not to be the case. We could play the game all day long where I describe a simply terrible idea and then tell you about the people who got rich implementing it just right. Let's try a few...

How about a comic strip that is literally a bunch of stick figures? It will be called XKCD and have no discernable characters. Done! It's the most viewed comic on the Internet.

How about a movie about two gay cowboys? Done! Academy Award!

How about a comedic TV show about a Nazi concentration camp? Done! It was called Hogan's Heroes and was a hit in its time.

How about a Broadway musical about a bunch of frickin' cats? Done!

You'd be hard pressed to come up with an idea so bad that it couldn't succeed with the right execution. And it would be even harder to imagine a great idea that couldn't fail if the execution were left to morons.

Ideas are worthless. Execution is everything.
Separately, I should note that it's pretty cool to see Adams highlighting the massive success of XKCD. Last week, when we had posted about another Scott Adams item, one of our regular critics insisted in the comments that Adams was only successful because of newspapers, and that no new comic strips could be successful or make money without the aid of an industry like newspapers. Others in the comments quickly pointed to Penny Arcade and XKCD -- both of which have been huge success stories. Honestly, I didn't realize that XKCD was "the most viewed comic on the internet," but as Adams has been considering how the market is changing, it's great that he's paying attention to what folks like Randall are doing, and recognizing that it's been such a huge success.


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    Beta, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 1:50pm

    small correction

    "Hogan's Heroes" was set in a prison camp, not a concentration camp. POWs playing football, not slaves dropping dead of exhaustion and hunger. A much easier comedic scenario.

    Donna Barr wrote a comic book story that takes place in a death camp. One of the funniest, darkest and most profound comics I've ever seen.

     

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      W Klink (profile), Jun 8th, 2010 @ 7:58am

      Re: small correction

      I was going to say the same thing. In fact, it wasn't even a completely original idea. The 1953 film Stalag 17 was also a comedy set in a POW camp (the producers sued CBS but lost).

      However, "Life is Beautiful" is a comedy set in a concentration camp (although it's a movie and not a TV series).

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 1:53pm

    "insisted in the comments that Adams was only successful because of newspapers, and that no new comic strips could be successful or make money without the aid of an industry like newspapers" - mike, you lie. anything is possible, just unlikely. the point is more that scott adams is pissing on the very industry that made him rich and famous, as opposed to being the real life dilbert he was before. there are literally hundreds of new cartoon strips (daily, weekly) coming out every year, and most of them disappear in short order without distribution. exceptional cases like xkcd exist online, but they are rare.

     

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      Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jun 7th, 2010 @ 2:02pm

      Re:

      Implementation is everything.

      Scott Adams didn't make a good comic because he was published in the newspaper. He made a good comic because he was a cubical dweller.

      Hundreds of new comics come out every year in newspapers and on comic book shelves, and most of them disappear in short order. Exceptional cases like Dilbert exist, but they are rare.

       

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      Cdaragorn (profile), Jun 7th, 2010 @ 2:04pm

      Re:

      "most of them disappear in short order without distribution. exceptional cases like xkcd exist online, but they are rare"

      Of course they're rare. This is WHY execution is everything, because it's the HARD part. Lots of people try, only a few end up successful from it.

      "the point is more that scott adams is pissing on the very industry that made him rich and famous, as opposed to being the real life dilbert he was before"

      No, the point is that you missed the point entirely. Yes, Scott used that old business model to build up his success. Back then that was the way to do it. The fact that things are changing now does not discredit what has been done before. Oh, and just to point out, the industry didn't make him famous, they simply provided a way to connect him to people. His work made him famous. Execution is what counts.

       

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      Alan Gerow (profile), Jun 7th, 2010 @ 2:09pm

      Re:

      So, your argument against on-line comics is that a newspaper is necessary to promote comic strips. But a newspaper can only print a couple pages of comics along with ads, puzzles, and other entertainment pieces. So, out of the "literally hundreds of new cartoon strips coming out every year" how are any but the couple dozen established strips going to get into the precious little bit of space that newspapers put to comics? Newspapers aren't going to take a risk on an unknown comic strip at the expense of an established brand.

      Instead of making it on the Internet where you have a potential audience of several billion people ... you can pray to be one of the top 0.1 percentile that actually gets printed in a widely distributed paper.

      Honestly, the Internet method seems to be much easier sell for a budding comic artist than the old newspaper route. A chance at moderate success through web ads & merchandising (Cafe Press can print books, t-shirts, posters, prints, etc for little to no upfront cost for the artist depending on how much they want to put up) ... or going to the old route and hope for your "big break" while starving or busing tables in the meantime.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 2:22pm

        Re: Re:

        in the end, the issue isnt space (newspapers often have more space than they have good comics), but rather that there are few good comics. those who saw some of the original dilberts will know that it wasnt the very best to start with, but did happen to hit home with people who were losing their jobs at the time in droves, and thus related to the content.

        it is rare, but this wiki writeup is pretty accurate: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Always_Postpone_Meetings_with_Time-Wasting_Morons

        scott adams true gift is to be able to catch what people are liking and not liking, and tune his strip accordingly. he has gone up and down with the business market, and has remained both timely and universally humorous. his is the 1 out of 100 that actually ends up being worth it.

        that being said, it is very doubtful that he would be in his current position without the distribution that newspaper gave him (or the income that came with it). the sales of books and other materials is an outcrop of the popularity created in his manner.

        it is all about scale. while xkcd is considered online famous, something like dilbert is seen by signficantly more people every day. xkcd gets about half a million views a day. dilbert gets more distribution than that in new york. it is safe to say that dilbert probably has hundreds to a thousand times more exposure per day (heck, it gets about 1/3 to 1/2 of the traffic of xkcd just to the website, without any other eyeballs counted).

        success is a relative thing. xkcd is internet successful, dilbert is actually successful. the difference is, well, obvious.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 2:26pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Are you fucking dense? Internet successful? What the fuck!?!

           

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            chris (profile), Jun 8th, 2010 @ 7:00am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Internet successful?

            it's like internet famous: where you are famous on the internet, but not famous enough for people to recognize you on the street. as in you are "pretend" famous and not "real" famous. see also: "internet journalism". it means that being successful on the internet isn't really being successful.

            it's a supposition that the internet isn't real and thus all that comes from it is not real either.

             

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          aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile), Jun 7th, 2010 @ 2:37pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Actually, xkcd is Randall's day job. Just like Questionable Content is Jeph Jacques day job. Eric Schmidt is internet successful. Is Dilbert as successful as Google? You're right, the difference is obvious.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 2:41pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            dilbert is a much more successful cartoon than google. google is a much more successful advertising company than dilbert. sam adams is a much better beer than pepsi. your point?

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 2:57pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Seriously, internet successful?

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 3:08pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                yup. internet successful is still only a rounding error compared to actual exposure levels seen for dilbert, peanuts, and the like. half a million viewers a day online is nice, but dilbert has better distribution in new york alone. again, using the old wiki, "Dilbert appears in 2000 newspapers worldwide in 65 countries and 25 languages". scale. internet successful in cartoons is still only a rounding error on most newspaper strips.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 3:09pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Feel free to try again later when you actually have data on how many people are viewing the strip.

                  Of course, asking you to provide evidence is an effort in futility.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 4:49pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    i am going according to quantcast.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 4:56pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      I was referring to the newspaper strip.

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 8:56pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        you would have to ask the newspaper industry what their 'read' rate is. you can perhaps imply it by looking at what the ad rates would be to appear on a comic page, or the page that dilbert on it in the business section. that would at least establish an eyeball value.

                         

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                          Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2010 @ 5:33am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                          In other words, you have no data to back up your claims, as usual.

                          Classic TAM.

                           

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 3:18pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  The internet appears in more than 65 countries and in more than 25 languages.

                   

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                  JEDIDIAH, Jun 8th, 2010 @ 7:00am

                  ...internet rounding error.

                  A newspaper might expose you to millions of readers but the web exposes you to BILLIONS.

                  Infact, a lot of those Dilbert strips will end up as birdcage liner. Their significance is easy to overstate and that's a big problem with old media in general. If you see that X people have visited Penny Arcade then that likely represents the actual number of interested parties.

                  Thus the difference in apparent success levels between Peanuts, Garfield and Dilbert despite the fact that they appear to have the same physical circulation numbers.

                  Then there are dead tree cartoons that none of us have even heard of despite the fact that they are spread as widely as Dilbert.

                   

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                    chris (profile), Jun 8th, 2010 @ 7:37am

                    Re: ...internet rounding error.

                    If you see that X people have visited Penny Arcade then that likely represents the actual number of interested parties... Thus the difference in apparent success levels between Peanuts, Garfield and Dilbert despite the fact that they appear to have the same physical circulation numbers.

                    while that's true, that's not really the point.

                    the supposition is that newspapers are more "real" than the web.

                    as a quantitative measure, it is true. dilbert is more circulated, and is presumably more successful because it has generated more money.

                    the supposition doesn't take into account two important things: that penny-arcade fans are of a much higher quality than dilbert fans, and that success on the scale that that the AC has defined just isn't possible any more.

                    dilbert may have made more money than PA, but no one flies across the country to attend the Dilbert Expo. i don't know what kind of charity work scott adams does, but i doubt it is as successful as child's play. if scott adams needed a kidney, he might be able to put out the call and get one. if Gabriel needed a kidney, he would get a hundred.

                    just like any musician starting today will never see the kinds of money and distribution that the beatles saw, it's just not possible for a cartoonist to achieve the kind of purely commercial and purely mainstream success that jim davis or scott adams has seen. however, it is fully possible for a cartoonist to build and command a standing army of rabid followers the way that PA has.

                    discounting success on the internet as "not real" is a supposition that is living on borrowed time. once the baby boomers are dead and no one is buying newspapers or watching network television anymore, internet success will be the only measure left to judge.

                     

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              Ryan, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 3:08pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Are you being intentionally fatuous?

              You say Dilbert's success model is more desireable than xkcd's because it reaches more eyeballs; thus, everyone should emulate Dilbert's model.

              Like he says, Google reaches more eyeballs than Dilbert. So by your logic, should everyone attempt to emulate Google? Why would anybody write a comic strip when they could be much more successful as a search engine/advertising company?

              Oh right, because not everyone will be successful and each individual must tailor their model to their own circumstances, as well as the market's. You can't say that person A wouldn't be in his/her position without , so is less desireable. Google wouldn't be where they are without the internet, so why would anybody attempt to run a business via newspapers?

               

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                Ryan, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 3:11pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                FYI, second to last sentence doesn't make sense because TD's parser fucked up the formatting.

                 

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 4:52pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                actually, everyone trying to create a search engine is trying to emulate google and then do better. all my point is (and the one mike tends to want to ignore) is that dilbert is world famous because of its wide distribution in formats other than just "available". being in the newspapers puts it in front of tens of millions of potential readers every day.

                simple math: how much do you think it would cost for a cartoon sized ad in 2000 newspapers every day? that is the sort of promotion that dilbert has gotten for 20 years. better than that, scott adams has gotten paid for all of that, rather than having to pay for it. amazing.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 5:22pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  People still read newspapers?

                   

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                  Joe Perry (profile), Jun 7th, 2010 @ 10:46pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I can honestly say that not only have I not visited the comic strips in a newspaper in many years, I have only viewed Dilbert in one place in many years, and that is on the internet.

                  What I'm saying is, you're ignoring the fact that not everyone who reads the newspaper is looking at the comic. Also, not every newspaper that gets printed actually gets read, some just sit on stands until they get thrown away. You can't figure out how many people are reading Dilbert just by looking at the newspaper's statistics.

                  You also say "internet successful in cartoons is still only a rounding error on most newspaper strips." If that were true, why would there even be a Dilbert web page? If that viewership is so tiny and insignificant compared to the printed version how would that be justifiable?

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 10:58pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Everybody knows that being internet successful isn't all that successful compared to newspaper successful. Which is why everybody is trying to save the internet from going under.

                    Poor internet.

                    Wait? What's that? They're trying to save newspapers? Oh, my mistake.

                     

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 2:49pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I was unaware that everyone reading the newspaper specifically went to go look at Dilbert.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 3:10pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            nope, nor is that the point. with such large distribution, only a small percentage of the newspaper readers have to check out dilbert to give it huge exposure.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 3:19pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Wait? Newspaper distribution is larger than the internet?

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 5:14pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                nope. but the percentage of people in the area of each newspaper access it is much higher than most of the accessing a single internet site, except for the most popular of sites.

                if dilbert.com is getting a couple of hundred thousand views a day online, and getting millions of views in paper, which one gives more exposure?

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 5:23pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  If opinions were facts . . . .

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 6:09pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    ...mike would be king. but since they are not, we have to go with what we have. thanks for taking the discussion away from my ideas mike, bonus points for that one.

                     

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                      Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 7:46pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      What the fuck are you even talking about at this point? Do you have a point?

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 8:49pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        TAM's sole point in any instance is that everyone who disagrees with him and points out the flaws in his logic is in fact part of the Massive Mike Conspiracy designed to "Shout Down" his stupidity.

                         

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 3:19pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Wait? Newspaper distribution is larger than the internet?

               

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          Nastybutler77 (profile), Jun 7th, 2010 @ 2:50pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "success is a relative thing. xkcd is internet successful, dilbert is actually successful. the difference is, well, obvious."

          Obvious logic failure is obvious. Also, it's funny how often you contradict yourself. Keep going on this topic; your ignorance is hysterical!

           

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        Andrew F (profile), Jun 7th, 2010 @ 7:04pm

        Re: Re:

        One of my favorite webcomics (sinfest.net) keeps a running tally of how often it's been rejected for newspaper syndication.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 3:36pm

      Re:

      "mike, you lie."

      No, you lie.

      "anything is possible, just unlikely."

      So then the statement, "no new comic strips could be successful or make money without the aid of an industry like newspapers" is a lie.

       

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      Hephaestus (profile), Jun 8th, 2010 @ 10:46am

      Re:

      "there are literally hundreds of new cartoon strips (daily, weekly) coming out every year, and most of them disappear in short order without distribution. exceptional cases like xkcd exist online, but they are rare."

      Online or In Real Life it doesnt make a difference. Most art is crap. Its like that for comics, music, videos, and books. The point is if you have something in the top 10% of the bell curve and you dont know how to promote it your chances of success are dismal. It is the execution that matters. It is the reason why artists should surround themselves with people who have the experience they lack.

       

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    Lance, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 2:21pm

    Hogan's Heros

    Please, Hogan's Heros was set in a Prisoner of War camp.
    With the western allies, the Nazis mostly, sorta followed the
    Geneva Conventions, so a POW camp was a whole other
    thing than a Concentration Camp.

    (This was not at all true for Soviet prisoners)

     

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    Richard (profile), Jun 7th, 2010 @ 3:05pm

    Ideas vs. Execution- False Dichotomy

    To me there isn't a difference between ideas an execution. Execution, when looked at closely, turns out to be just a lot of little ideas that you need to have to make the big idea work.

     

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      Jose_X, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 5:47pm

      Re: Ideas vs. Execution- False Dichotomy

      In the case of the USPTO, they grant monopolies through a set of laws and rules that favor broad ideas of much lower value than any of many "little" ideas required for a quality implementation.

      [To society, this adds insult to the injury of granting any monopoly in the first place.]

       

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        Richard (profile), Jun 8th, 2010 @ 7:46am

        Re: Re: Ideas vs. Execution- False Dichotomy

        This is a recent change - if you look back to the classic patent fights of the 19th cent (eg the telephone, light bulb etc) you will find that all the parties took the basic idea for granted - the patent battles were over the little ideas - how to make a microphone that worked, how to stop the filament from burning out etc. In those days one might even argue that the patent system promoted diverse solutions to the basic problems - in few cases does the first successful (patented) mechanism correspond to the method that won out in the end. eg - all those fights over how to make carbon filaments - when in the end the real solution was a different material altogether (tungsten). If modern practice had prevailed then I gues someone (probably Edison) would have been able to successfully patent "the electric light bulb" as an idea and no-one else would have got a look in - even if they had a different (and better) solution to the filament survival problem than Edison.

         

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    Jim_G, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 4:01pm

    Okay, going back to the original subject:

    I can't count the number of times friend have insisted I keep an idea "secret" and then told me an extremely vague concept with no specifics. Most recently this has taken the form of iphone/ipod apps. "Don't tell ANYBODY, but I have an idea for an app! Restaurant reviews! Plus, it links to Google Maps!"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 4:04pm

    Quick note that I can't stand Dilbert, Penny Arcade, nor XKCD. These are comics that have poor execution in terms of humor. You can actually see their attempt at humor, rather than just having the comic be funny on its own merit. Yes there are a few exceptions, but I'd say these comics have 100 dull panels before I'll ever utter a single snicker.

    I do like C&H and the [now defunct] Perry Bible Fellowship. Nothing compares to Far Side for me however.

     

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      Richard (profile), Jun 7th, 2010 @ 4:17pm

      Re:

      Like Dilbert and love XKCD, don't really see the point of Far Side - seems it's a matter of personal taste.

       

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        CrushU, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 4:20pm

        Re: Re:

        Indeed it is. That's why the internet is so great... XKCD and Penny Arcade actually target relatively small demographics. (Math/Computer Geeks and Gamers, respectively) They'd never exist in newspaper.

        And seriously? 'Internet successful'? ... So having two conventions a year, devoted Just To Your Comic, one on the west coast and one on the east coast doesn't count?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 5:17pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          in the end, it is just a question of scale. there is no denying the xkcd is doing well in internet terms, but they are still small compared to worldwide distribution of print cartoons in newspapers. 2000 newspapers a day is a huge distribution level, xkcd would likely explode if they could get that sort of coverage.

           

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            Joe Perry (profile), Jun 7th, 2010 @ 10:56pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            again this comment ignores that not everyone looking at the newspaper reads Dilbert. while the number of newspapers with Dilbert printed in them may be greater than the number of views XKCD gets every day that is not an apt comparison. the number of newspapers printed is more comparable to the number of total possible viewers, which means for Dilbert the possible viewers is the number of newspapers printed with Dilbert in them, for XKCD it's the number of people who have the internet. I wonder which is larger...?

             

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      senshikaze (profile), Jun 7th, 2010 @ 4:32pm

      Re:

      you know what is great about the internet? noone is forcing you to read any of those. if you don't like them, don't read them. stop whining.

       

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      Phil, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 5:14pm

      My Newspaper vs. The Internet

      I never heard of the Perry Bible Fellowship, until you-- on the internet, mentioned it today.
      It never appeared in my local newspaper. It must not have been successful.
      Although... I did google it today and it looks like it was pretty funny.
      Too bad it never was good enough to get into my local paper.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 6:11pm

        Re: My Newspaper vs. The Internet

        phil, the point is that just putting a page on the internet that says "phil is really god" wont make a hint of difference because it has no built in distribution. newspapers have a huge existing readership. it is why people pay tens of thousands of dollars for ad space in newspapers, and nothing for space on "phil is really god".

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 6:38pm

          Re: Re: My Newspaper vs. The Internet

          Are you seriously retarded?

          You are actually saying that a newspaper is a more efficient way of transmitting a message than the internet?

          Notice that a newspaper is a physical disposable object that you need to carry from point A to point B to actually deliver a message. You also have a limited number of those. Also notice that fewer and fewer people are reading newspapers because they are inconvenient.

          On the internet on the other hand, you don't *need* to carry anything. Somebody else will gladly do that for you. All you need is some initial viewership...which shouldn't be hard to attain.

          So yeah, phil has a better chance of becoming god for just posting something on his webpage than he has by printing on a million newspapers.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 7:27pm

            Re: Re: Re: My Newspaper vs. The Internet

            "You are actually saying that a newspaper is a more efficient way of transmitting a message than the internet?"

            no, not in the slightest. there is no discussion of effeciency, only viewership. a cartoon in 2000 daily newspapers has significantly more chance of being viewed than phils webpage on the internet. the newspapers have distribution, phil does not.

            "All you need is some initial viewership...which shouldn't be hard to attain." - actually, it is the single most difficult thing of the internet. you are competing with billions of pages, constantly updating, and phils page just isnt significant. he could get a link off of techdirt (an exceedingly popular website) and it would still take ages to get the exposure that he would get in a small box on the bottom of page 6 in the ny times on a single day.

            put in other terms, the drudge report is a very high ranked website, certainly in the top 100 in the world. the 2000 newspapers that currently display dilbert likely have a much wider audience than drudge. scale... it is an amazing thing.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 7:53pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: My Newspaper vs. The Internet

              Do you work in the newspaper business? You sound like you know all about newspapers. Is there anything you don't know about?

              Are you some kind of guru?

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 7th, 2010 @ 8:51pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: My Newspaper vs. The Internet

              Amusing that you still don't understand the difference between exposure, interest, and views.

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Jun 8th, 2010 @ 3:18am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: My Newspaper vs. The Internet

              "no, not in the slightest. there is no discussion of effeciency, only viewership."

              uhm, my brain just flipped on itself to try to understand what you mean. The internet is a more efficient way of distributing information but the newspaper is better because it gets more views? Then we have very different opinions on what "efficient" means...

              "a cartoon in 2000 daily newspapers has significantly more chance of being viewed than phils webpage on the internet. the newspapers have distribution, phil does not."

              Ok, sure...but is it better that phil? Will people like it more? Will people actively seek to watch it, or is it just something cluttering the last few pages that one guy will find funny while most will ignore? You don't have that problem on the internet, since you can filter the crap rather easily with bookmarks.

              "actually, it is the single most difficult thing of the internet. you are competing with billions of pages, constantly updating, and phils page just isnt significant. he could get a link off of techdirt (an exceedingly popular website) and it would still take ages to get the exposure that he would get in a small box on the bottom of page 6 in the ny times on a single day. "

              On the internet, you don't need distribution. Someone might stumble on your site, find it good and tell his friends or post it on his blog. The growth in viewership is exponential (assuming the site is any good). I accidentally stumbled upon techdirt one day and found it interesting and I already shared it with a few people. Techdirt's viewership accidentally increased just because it was lying around the internet. I very much doubt anyone's exposure will increase by putting anything on a newspaper.

              "put in other terms, the drudge report is a very high ranked website, certainly in the top 100 in the world. the 2000 newspapers that currently display dilbert likely have a much wider audience than drudge. scale... it is an amazing thing."

              Being on the top 100 of the internet rankings probably gets you more views that all the newspapers in the world combined. Try posting a link to your site on slashdot and watch your server implode as thousands or even millions of people hit it in a couple of minutes (and expect more to keep hitting in during the rest of the week). That's something a physical object will never be able to emulate.

               

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          Richard (profile), Jun 8th, 2010 @ 7:56am

          Re: Re: My Newspaper vs. The Internet

          phil, the point is that just putting a page on the internet that says "phil is really god" wont make a hint of difference because it has no built in distribution. newspapers have a huge existing readership. it is why people pay tens of thousands of dollars for ad space in newspapers, and nothing for space on "phil is really god".

          Yes but Phil also has a tiny fraction of the overheads that the newspaper has. Any money Phil makes is almost pure profit straight away - whilst the newspaper has to make a very large sum before they break even. It just isn't a fair comparison.

          Also, times are changing. 20 years ago I bought a newspaper every day and spent my lunch hour reading it. I haven't bought a newpaper more than about 3 times a year for over 10 years now - and I read websites like techdirt, XKCD etc at lunchtime.

          The trend is even stronger amongst younger generations - many of whom will never buy a newspaper regularly in their lives. Of course the readership is spread more thinly on the web - because there is more choice - but that is progress - you can't turn back the clock.

           

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    Stick it to the man., Jun 7th, 2010 @ 11:12pm

    XKCD is awesome.

     

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    Nick Coghlan (profile), Jun 7th, 2010 @ 11:19pm

    Defining "success"

    "Making enough money to support yourself and your family" is a pretty decent definition, and many successful webcomics by that criterion could never have made it there if they had to go through the traditional gatekeepers of newspaper syndication.

    One thing to keep in mind is that the webcomic industry supports a broad range of people:
    - hobbyists that do it in addition to a regular day job (e.g. David Morgan-Marr with Irregular Webcomic)
    - professionals that started out as hobbyists (e.g. Howard Tayler with Schlock Mercenary)
    - professionals that come from a newspaper syndication background, and may even still be syndicated (e.g. Scott Adams with Dilbert)

    Some of the hobbyists (such as those like DMM that use pictures of Lego mini-figures for their images) might encounter legal trouble if they tried to directly monetize their work, but that doesn't really matter, since they're doing it because it is fun rather than because it is profitable. The key thing to note is that the presence of the hobbyists doesn't keep the professionals that put the effort in (and have the requisite talent) from earning their keep.

     

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    Bored SysAdmin (profile), Jun 8th, 2010 @ 11:36am

    I agree

    Lets make a TV sitcom about nothing...

    which ran for 9 seasons and was/is still one of best known and loved TV Shows...

    Hint:
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098904/

     

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    Gene Cavanaugh, Jun 9th, 2010 @ 8:34pm

    Ideas and Execution

    "Ideas are worthless. Execution is everything."

    What a moronic statement! Execution "without a clue" gets you nowhere - early man, faultlessly executing on improving transportation, was basically not getting anywhere until someone had the idea of a wheel! That is why Europeans advanced while the Maya, etc. stagnated (well, part of the reason)!
    I like Scott Adams, and he may be right if we confine ourselves to comic strips, but if he really meant it as a general thing, he needs to get a life!

     

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      Nick Coghlan (profile), Jun 16th, 2010 @ 7:12am

      Re: Ideas and Execution

      The Maya had wheels. They didn't use them for vehicles because they had no draft animals and wheeled vehicles and the uneven terrain of the Yucatan don't get along very well.

      Ideas are, indeed, generally worthless. If something occurs to one person, it is likely to occur to many more. Following through on an idea and turning it into something useful is far more rare.

      You get occasional pieces of brilliance (Einstein comes to mind), but even for those, we have no idea how long it would have taken for someone else to come up with it, and without all the work that was done to confirm them, Einstein's ideas wouldn't carry anything like the weight they do now. Even something as significant as calculus was independently invented by two contemporaries (Newton and Leibniz).

      Besides, dropping the qualifications to just leave the phrase "Ideas are worthless. Execution is everything." is a mere rhetorical trick anyway. You aren't meant to take it completely literally - it's exaggeration for effect.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 6th, 2010 @ 12:54am

    The irony..

    Have a look at the Dilbert comic from an artistic point of view: the idea might be good, but the execution is pretty lousy. Yet, Scott Adams succeed..

     

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