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, 17 May 2008 @ 2:20pm

    Re:

    An AC's rhetoric was:
    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!

    mjr1007 replied:
    Wow, this is really surreal, monkey see, monkey do, I guess. I know you are but what am I? Is that really the best you've got. This is really some of the worse rhetoric yet, but to be fair it is extremely entertaining.

    The rhetorical device you just used was a straw man. Which means you misrepresented what I said and then criticized the misrepresentation. Do you see how this works? You don't just offer unsubstantiated opinion, you actually give details and make a case.

    I actually think some rhetorical devices can be quite useful to emphasize a point, the problem is when your entire argument consists of repeating the same old unsubstantiated stuff with absolutely no facts.

    mjr1007 wrote:
    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.

    An AC's rhetoric was:
    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.

    mjr1007 replied:
    Once again the logical fallacy is the: “all birds are not cardinals”. People using patents are building new products but not all new products use patents. For those which do, the people actually doing the development should decide which patents were and were not useful and to what degree.

    Reinventing the wheel, is just a waste of scarce development resources. Any developer worth their salt will know what is already available and leverage that. Spending time reinventing the wheel is just stupid, which is probably why you suggested it.

    Building on previous work has been recognized for centuries. Issac Newton “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Recognizing the work of others has a long history in science and technology. If the person comes up with something much better then by all means patent that improvement if it is novel. Otherwise use what is already available and pay the licensing fee.

    An AC's rhetoric was:
    claiming that it's always people using patents is a total strawman. rhetoric! rhetoric!

    mjr1007 replied:
    You are right about that, claiming people always use patented technology to build their products is a total straw man. I'm just glad I never said it.

    An AC's rhetoric was
    besides, why would patents be better than just letting companies pay people for basic research?

    mjr1007 replied:
    It nice to see that not only are you irrational but also ill informed. Companies are getting out of the Basic Research business.


    mjr1007 wrote:
    So tell me Mr. AC, exactly how do you have progress in science without actually doing that techie stuff?

    An AC's rhetoric was:
    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.

    mjr1007 replied:
    It's true it wasn't you complaining about the techie stuff, it was some other posting. Of course you completely missed the point, no surprise there. If you go back and read some of the previous posts you will see someone complained about a posting of mine where I had the audacity to actually talk about science and technology in a discussion about patents, which is all about promoting progress in science and the useful arts, at least it should be if you bother to RTFC.

    mjr1007 wrote:
    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.

    An AC's rhetoric was:
    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!

    mjr1007 replied:
    Wow, 6 rhetorics in just over 2 lines, are you going for a record here? I would be happy to respond to anything substantive you have to say. I'm just waiting for you to actually say something substantive. I'm certainly not going to get into a rhetoric counting contest with you, clearly you can write it more times then I can. As far as I can tell, I've actually responded in painful detail to you. If something is not clear, then please feel free to bring it up again. I'll try to dumb it down even more for you.

    mjr1007 wrote:
    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.

    An AC's rhetoric was:
    rhetoric, rhetoric! when you have no solid response, insult away.

    mjr1007 wrote:
    Come on, only two rhetorics in one sentence, your not even trying now. This is really dropping your rhetorics per line average. Again, if there is some point I've overlooked just bring it up again, I really do try to show you the errors of your ways.

    An AC whinned:
    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!

    mjr1007 replied:
    You do know this is the Internet, right? Either grow up or stop posting. If you consider your post number 54 to be civil then you have a bigger problem then I though. Once you become sarcastic and obnoxious I felt no compunction to keep the gloves on. Do you see how that works though. You start something and then I follow suit. If you actually want a civil discussion then, oh I don't know, try being civil yourself. If you want to show people how clever you can be, then maybe whining when someone responds in kind is not the way to go.

    An AC wrote sarcastically;
    wow, mjr, that works great.

    mjr1007 replied:
    If you keep this type of comment up I see a lot more whining in your future.

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