Ideas Are Easy... Execution Is Difficult

from the so-why-do-we-protect-the-ideas? dept

It's an ongoing theme around here, but ideas are everywhere. The real trick to making something great often has extremely little to do with the idea, and much more to do with the execution. That's where the real innovation occurs -- in taking an idea and trying to figure out how to make it useful. It's that process that's important, much more than the original idea. As nearly anyone who has brought a product from conception to market will tell you, what eventually succeeds in the market is almost always radically different than the original "idea." That's part of the reason why patents are so often harmful to innovation. The patent is for that core idea, which is rarely the key in making something successful. But by limiting who can innovate off of the idea (or just by making it much more expensive) you're limiting that process of innovation.

Some people disagree with this, but the failure of Cambrian House, once again seems to demonstrate the vast gap between ideas and execution. Cambrian House was a well-hyped company that tried to "crowdsource" new companies and products. I've paid attention to them for a while, since their business model had some similarities to what we do with the Techdirt Insight Community. However, as the founder of Cambrian House admitted in explaining the company's changing plans, it wasn't difficult to get people to come up with all sorts of interesting and exciting ideas -- but where the company failed was in getting anyone to actually execute on any of those ideas. Ideas are a starting point -- but it's high time that we stopped worshipping the idea, and started recognizing how much more important execution is in driving innovation.

Filed Under: execution, ideas, innovation
Companies: cambrian house


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  1. identicon
    mjr1007, 15 May 2008 @ 3:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It's a bald faced fact.

    A little thin skinned aren't we Hank. Back in the day we always kidded around about kick start verses electric. If I threatened your manhood, or womanhood, in this day an age Hank could be short for Henrieta, it wasn't my intent.

    I know the site was for cars, which is why the line above the URL said

    "For those too lazy to even Google it here is a web page for cars"

    Since you've already admitted to being lazy I hope you won't get all weepy on me again. Gees, your almost as bad as Mikebob. You sound a little like him too. No that would be too much even for Mikebob.

    There is an obvious difference between bikes and cars. But the idea is easily abstracted out from either or both. The implementation may require some serious work even something novel enough to be patented but the idea of a remote starter for a bike, today, is quite obvious.

    As to why I picked a high tech idea like a bitonic sort. As you pointed out many of the common ones, like a remote bike starter, are not deserving of protection. However if one goes into new technological areas there is still plenty of opportunity to create novel inventions.

    The fact that you didn't understand the example and have no intention of learning about it demonstrates why you are ill equipped to even discuss this topic. If you really think that taking an idea that is already a commercial product for cars and say, why don't we do it for motorcycles is a what patents are all about, then further discussion on your part would be pointless. I mean really, what's next, remote starters for lawnmowers, or chainsaws?

    The example was not for rhetoric effect, it was to show that there is a huge difference between bad ideas not worthy of the electrons needed to render them and good ideas that can create whole new industries. We have far too many of the formal and far too few of the latter. Which is why the latter should be promoted.

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