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. icon
    Mike (profile), 28 May 2008 @ 3:02am

    Re:

    You've drunk the VC koolaid, Mike.

    And what VCs are those?

    Both ideas AND execution are difficult.

    Turns out not so much.


    VCs and the corporations that acquire VC-backed startups effectively pay only for execution right now. Naturally, they want us all to believe that's all that's important.


    I'm not sure why you keep going back to VCs. This has nothing to do with VCs.

    If you asked music listeners what's more important, the record label or the musician?

    That's what's important to the consumer. Not what's important to success. Different things...

    There are plenty of areas of R&D that are more art than science.

    And the "art" is in executing.

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