An idea is an if…else… statement

Idea Cat

I have an idea, why don't you feed me?

Since I’ve been back, I’ve met many buddies whom to my surprise, have all been hatching up business ideas. But I always get bemused when they say: “this is top secret for your eyes and ears only Nai!!”. Firstly, thanks for the vote of confidence. Secondly, you’re being silly. I think Derek Sivers nailed it when he said ideas are just multipliers of execution.

Keeping in line with my undertaking to become a hacker, I see an idea as a single if…else… statement. Thinking out loud: if my idea works, return me lotsa money, else do not pass go, do not collect $200. Where execution comes in is that it allows you to slap else if conditions along the way. The better execution the more else if conditions you can slap. Reducing these cycle times would be what the Lean Startup is all about.

So putting the 2 ideas together: Good idea * bad execution = $0. Bad idea * good execution = $0 BUT good execution allows you to discover that your idea is bad, quicker.

If you’re still not convinced, here are my top 3 reasons why you should not be cagey about your idea:

  1. Feedback: In the same way how if you shot a hole-in-one and no one saw it, ideas need feedback and validation from other people to verify its existence (or non-existence if its a bad idea). This is almost like a quick sanity litmus test. There are many ways to do this such as :
    1. http://www.quora.com/What-defines-product-market-fit-(PMF)-for-a-consumer-Internet-product
    2. http://survey.io/
  2. Evolution: It takes feedback, discussions, differences of opinions for your idea to take shape and evolve. Why is this important? Mainly because no one gets it right the first time round. It is only through the gathering of different perspectives from subject matter experts (or not), the bouncing of ideas and the resulting synthesis does one conclude at a very high level if the idea is worth pursuing or not.
  3. Connections: Confucius once say: “Man are born good…”. Your friends want to help you, so help them help you! It’s this crazy karma, real life upvoting system or what I call the Goodwill Bank, that powers the human race.They can do this with expertise or more often than not, connections. People whom they think might find your idea interesting or might be able to help you operationally.

I think entrepreneurs can be a paranoid bunch and are afraid of people ‘stealing’ their ideas. Well guys, were you expecting zero competition? The battlefield is at your execution and that’s where the focus ought to be at.

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