Ideas vs Execution

I work in an environment full of people with tons of ideas. Very few of them are original, most having been stolen from the competition, and many doomed to failure, yet still many of these actually get pursued. I think whoever first said at a meeting “there are no bad ideas” should be forced to watch a Paris Hilton retrospective with their eyes held open like the dude in A Clockwork Orange.

I can name 3 right of the top of my head.

New Coke

Invading Iraq

Sub-prime mortgages.


The reality is that some ideas are very bad, and the morons who managed to get them green-lighted often had to go around the grown ups in the room who end up getting dragged along for the ride. But how do they do that? Well it’s not that hard – because everyone wants to back a winner, because the competition has one (even though it also has no ROI), because it’s impolite to point out that the emperor has no clothes, there are a myriad of reasons. And hey – as long as it starts off well, with a big marketing budget, some Shock and Awe, then why make a fuss?But I think the scarier thing might be that these machivellian weasels have figured out, really you just have to get hippo in the room on your side and everyone else will fall into line…

The reality is great original ideas are rare – like a solar eclipse, so most ideas should be scrutinized like an email from a Nigerian prince…

And the first question should always be – can we actually execute this?

I see a lot of money wasted on bad ideas, but probably the bigger drain is actually on resources, some “visionary” who stole his idea from a webinar, gets whole departments running around trying to make the impossible happen, pushing water uphill, so that he can look good.

One of the best phrases in the world is “the art of the possible” I always think of it as creating great things with what you have, with brilliant execution.

Often it’s not the original idea that is so potent, but the ability to take an idea and add that little extra that makes it actually a breeze to use.

Just ask Steve jobs.


~ by avoidthekoolaid on April 27, 2009.

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