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 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Re: All ideas are not created equal

    An AC wrote:
    mjr (again) totally misses the point. if increasing ILP in processors is progress, then let the market reward it. why give a patent to the guy who doesn't do anything with it?

    mjr1007 replied:
    The AC totally missed the point (I know you are but what am I). The Constitution states "to promote progress in Science ...", not to promote the market place. Really how much clearer could it possibly be. In this case all the guy, actually the research institute wanted was to license it so they could continue to fund more research, the bastards what where they thinking. Wanting to come up with more great ideas for companies to steal.

    The AC continued:
    plus, mjr, i think you misrepresent what people are saying here. no one says that because there are stupid ideas no ideas should be protected (that's a gross misreading of what everyone else hsa said). they're saying that if you don't do anything with the idea, then it shouldn't be protected, because that goes again the concept of encouraging progress (as per the constitution).

    mjr1007 replied:
    Clearly English is a human language with lots of subtleties but when the title is "Ideas are Easy" it's kind of hard to miss. It's true no one said there are lots of stupid ideas, they just used stupid ideas in all of their examples. This would be implicit as opposed to explicit, but it's there none the less. Just RTFC.

    The progress is in science, not the market. They are not the same thing. Most reasonable inventors who can't actually produce the product would be more then happy to license their invention for a reasonable fee. Hence giving progress in both science and the market. In fact that is the idea situation. Why waste a scarce research talent on producing products which requires less skill and has a larger pool of talent.

    An AC continued
    the real progress was intel doing something and making that concept real. just coming up with the idea is just a small part of that process. the real progress is doing something with the idea.

    mjr1007 replied:
    A patent is not just some random idea, as seems to be portrayed here in Mikebob land. Patents are supposed to be novel & non obvious, which makes them far from easy or even a small step in the process. Because of the dreadful patent system we have now many obvious overly broad patents have been granted. Which is obviously a problem, but that problem doesn't mean that truly novel patents are easy or worthless.

    Your whole point of coming up with a novel patent is easy is just wrong. If it was easy then we would all be flying skycars fueled by bio-fuels and living in energy efficient mansions. Having actually come up with some novel ideas, I can tell you, it's not easy. Having actually implemented novel ideas, I can tell you it's much easier. Both task though are much harder then just shooting off your mouth on a subject you have no real understanding of. In fact you don't even seem to understand the patent process, as flawed as it is.

    It's not that I don't get your point of only products count, it's that I think it's unsupported garbage. There is a difference.

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