About once every year I find myself re-reading Getting Real, the first book by 37Signals from 2006 about their software development process. There’s so much good stuff in there. I could probably do multiple posts on each chapter. Anyway, one thing that caught my eye when I was flipping through recently was this “idea chart” in Chapter 6 by Derek Sivers, one of the many “experts” they reference throughout the book:
Be An Executioner
It’s so funny when I hear people being so protective of ideas. (People who want me to sign an nda to tell me the simplest idea.)
To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.
* Awful idea = -1
* Weak idea = 1
* So-so idea = 5
* Good idea = 10
* Great idea = 15
* Brilliant idea = 20
* No execution = $1
* Weak execution = $1000
* So-so execution = $10,000
* Good execution = $100,000
* Great execution = $1,000,000
* Brilliant execution = $10,000,000
To make a business, you need to multiply the two.
The most brilliant idea, with no execution, is worth $20. The most brilliant idea takes great execution to be worth $20,000,000.
That’s why I don’t want to hear people’s ideas. I’m not interested until I see their execution.
Ideas are worthless. The best entrepreneurs I know have executed very basic business ideas with extreme precision over long periods of time. How they separate themselves from the competition, and how they innovate, is simply by being consistent and using their data and their experience to improve their product/service. Hell, look at us – Detailed Image is arguably the simplest most vanilla business we’ve attempted, but it’s undoubtebly the most successful. Assuming there’s a market for your idea (there almost always is if you’re scratching your own itch), the idea itself becomes of very little value. It’s the execution of said idea that matters. It’s your passion. It’s your work ethic. It’s your consistency.
Reminds me of that post I wrote last year: Consistency = Success = Happiness?.