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, 15 May 2008 @ 11:44am

    Another Mikebob troll

    Ideas are easy, it execution that hard.

    Well why bother with new ideas at all, why not just keep re-executing the same old tired crap. Oh wait that's actually what you do, isn't it Mikebob. This from a guy who is a self described "A Visionary".

    I actually joined Cambrian House when it first got started. While it's true they had many ideas you really couldn't say many of them were very good. So reasonable to say bad ideas are worthless, it's definitely not the case for good ones though. Of course the initial goal was to come up with new product ideas. Which is a small subset of all possible ideas.

    There are lots of different areas for new ideas. Some will open up whole new markets while others will improve current products. If you crowd source, it wouldn't be surprising that you would get a lot of tired old obvious ideas. But lumping all ideas in a single bucket is a typical Mikebob troll. Have to keep that traffic up, eh Mikebob.

    Another problem with Cambrian House was the filter they used to decide which ideas to try to implement. By crowd sourcing it they pretty much guaranteed that the simplest and easiest to understand ideas would get picked. As far as implementing, it had a pyramid scheme feel to it, so it really felt like you would work your ass off and the people who started Cambrian House would be the ones to benefit if there was any benefit to be had at all, give how the ideas were picked. For people who were good developers why not just implement your own idea and cut Cambrian house out of it completely. After all you were taking all the risk anyway.

    Which is one of the reasons why implementation is so difficult. The people running the show, despite saying implementation is hard, don't reward the people doing the implementation. I'm sure most would be just as happy outsourcing it to the lowest cost developers possible.

    We have yet another message board creator selling incredibly lame analysis being a visionary and people who come up with things like GMR being dopes. Oh year, this is the guy I want setting IP policy for the country.

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