Being First Isn't The Most Important Thing, Getting It Right Is
from the and-that's-hard dept
Marcus Carab points us to this wonderful comic from Scott Meyer’s Basic Instructions. I won’t post the full strip, but just one awesome panel, so as to encourage you to check out the whole thing. In it, two guys are discussing Steve Jobs and his ability to make products that work:
He’s the kid who copies off of your test, then gets a better grade than you.
But the overall point is a key one, and one we’ve tried to make often around here. Merely copying what someone else has done isn’t all that meaningful. If you’ve just copied, and don’t add anything new, you haven’t done much. But if you can copy something that’s so-so, and make it work… that’s real innovation. This is something that people who haven’t built companies or brought products to market often don’t understand. Execution is everything. The idea is almost worthless.
Actually, I really like the way Derek Sivers has explained it: the idea is a multiplier, but the execution is still what matters:
AWFUL IDEA = -1
WEAK IDEA = 1
SO-SO IDEA = 5
GOOD IDEA = 10
GREAT IDEA = 15
BRILLIANT IDEA = 20
NO EXECUTION = $1
WEAK EXECUTION = $1000
SO-SO EXECUTION = $10,000
GOOD EXECUTION = $100,000
GREAT EXECUTION = $1,000,000
BRILLIANT EXECUTION = $10,000,000
To make a business, you need to multiply the two.
The most brilliant idea, with no execution, is worth $20.
The most brilliant idea takes great execution to be worth $20,000,000.
So the idea matters… but marginally. Execution is what makes the big difference all around. Along those lines, being first doesn’t much matter if the execution is weak. And in technology, plenty of first executions are weak. If we limit the ability of anyone else to execute better, then we lose out on tremendous opportunities for others to execute correctly. We want products that work. We don’t want broken products that were “first.”