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
    Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2008 @ 12:02pm

    noticing a pattern: anytime mjr gets backed into a corner and someone points out how little his argument makes sense, he starts screaming "rhetoric, rhetoric!" it's like a magic incantation. neat trick.

    as they say in the prince bride, i do not think you know what that word means.

    i'll start to use it too.

    mjr, rhetoric, rhetoric!

    > What I did say was to let people knowledgeable in the field decide which patent they would use when working on their products. You know let the implementors, your hero's, decide what is garbage, like your comments, and what is actually useful.

    rhetoric, rhetoric! why do we need anyone to decide which patent to use? this isn't a catalog. the problems come about when people come up with the same idea themselves, or just take a tiny bit of a patent and use that to inspire something much better. claiming that it's always people using patents is a total strawman. rhetoric! rhetoric!

    besides, why would patents be better than just letting companies pay people for basic research?

    > So tell me Mr. AC, exactly how do you have progress in science without actually doing that techie stuff?

    rhetoric! rhetoric! who said there wouldn't be any techie stuff done? not i. someone's using rhetorical devices.

    techie stuff gets done because companies need it to get done to innovate and serve the market. they will pay for it.

    > This is just so sad. If the best you've got is to use such obvious rhetoric to try to win you point then it should be clear to anyone reading this that your point of view is not worth the electrons needed to render it.

    rhetoric, rhetoric! you use the same thing on me using rhetoric (claiming my points are "rhetoric" rather than actually responding to the substance). and then you blast obnoxious insults. rhetoric! rhetoric!

    > I actually like lively informed debate, this on the other hand is just so much nonsense. If that is the best you've got then it is better to be thought a fool then to open your mouth (keep posting) and assure everyone.

    rhetoric, rhetoric! when you have no solid response, insult away.

    if you like a lively informed debate, it helps not to act like an asshole during it. just a suggestion. otherwise, people might just decide you're an asshole and not take you seriously.

    rhetoric! rhetoric!

    wow, mjr, that works great.

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