October 2, 2013


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It’s not the idea. It’s the execution

many ideas

I’ve worked in the creative industry and in a startup town my whole career. During that time, I’ve found myself confronted with a consistent misconception. It’s one I used to believe myself. It’s really easy to believe. Possibly because it feels like magic. It’s a myth. I’ve seen this myth in movies and books because it’s a dramatic tool used to tell a good story—they are signature moments. They advance the plot. They connect with you emotionally. I’ve seen it in sports(sports are stories too) because sports have actual moments where the outcome of a game is decided—a full count at the plate and the impending pitch. A free throw with the game on the line. Fourth down and 1 to go. You get the picture.

What am I talking about? I’m talking about the Idea Myth.

The Idea Myth: The Idea is what is most important. If I can just come up with that one idea. That one, great idea…that’s all I need. The moment is important. If I can just get that one moment…my one big shot…and come through. That’s all I need.

Whether it’s an idea around a great ad, an idea around a great app, or a new business, people think that the idea is the magic bullet to success. They fear sharing the idea because someone might “steal” it. (I’ve had ideas stolen. It doesn’t stop me from sharing them. Hence, this blog.)

Here’s the truth: Your idea isn’t worth squat. Really. It isn’t. What really has value. What is the difference between a fantasy and reality is all the work put forth in execution of an idea. Putting it together. Refining it. Revising it. Trashing it if necessary. Getting others to see the value of your idea and on board in working to make it a reality—that’s the powerful stuff. That’s where the magic is. That’s where the work is.

I certainly don’t want to discount creative vision or foresight. It is valuable. It is necessary to change the world. But it is only the beginning. The first step, in a long, long road. The world isn’t changed in one-off moments of inspiration. The world is changed by the accumulation of thousands, millions and billions of moments of purposeful action in an effort to make that inspiration a reality.

Lets get to work.

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