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, 16 May 2008 @ 9:08am

    Re: Re: All ideas are not created equal

    mjr1007 wrote:
    The basic rhetoric being used here is:
    all ideas are the same,
    it's easy to come up with stupid ideas,
    therefore no ideas should be reward.

    AC sniveled:
    What a demented summary

    mjr1007 replied:
    OK, now tell me why it's demented. Point out where people who were posting about why ideas are easy made a distinction between good ideas and bad one. Point out where these same people made a distinction in the difficulty of coming up with different quality ideas. And finally, point out where they said something other then no ideas should be rewarded.

    That is how a discussion works. It requires more then mere unsubstantiated opinion presented as facts.

    Of course any discussion which speaks in terms of ideas rather then progress in science is already off track.

    Just as a side note, why would anyone care about the difficulty some may or may not have with creating patents. It truly is something that can benefit the world, why would you care if it took 10 seconds or 10 years to come up with the jet engine, as long as you could now get from point A to point B twice as fast, bickering over how the person who made it possible did so seems, rather pointless, like many of the comments here.

    Is it really important to know that only corrupt CEOs of companies can "making millions and living in a hedonistic fantasy world." Why would anyone argue for rewarding corrupt rent seeking CEOs and complain about the people who stoke the fires of progress. It's beyond me how anyone other then the CEOs could think that's a good idea.

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