Not All Ideas Are Great and Not All Great Ideas Get Implemented

I try to remember that not all my ideas are great. If anything, most are not, and that applies to most people. Even great ideas don’t always get implemented, due to politics, poor marketing, poor timing, and more, but perhaps mostly due to it being really hard to tell which ideas are great until after they are implemented. That means some less than great ideas do get implemented. Some end up working out ok, some don’t, but we don’t know which it will be until after the implementation.

Not all ideas need to be great. It’s a mistake to wait until an idea is perfect before proceeding. It’s also a mistake to fail to spend a few minutes trying to make the idea better and trying to find flaws. It’s a lot more fun to just assume the idea is so great that any flaws, real or imagined, will either not materialize or are worth the cost of getting the idea accomplished.

Things I know about my ideas:

  • Most are interesting, to me at least!
  • Not all are practical. Maybe not many of them even.
  • I favor solving interesting problems over making money. Sometimes that’s good, but not always.
  • I’ve never had an idea that wasn’t made better (or thrown out) by talking it through with at least one trusted advisor
  • I like to look laterally and in depth, which means I almost always prefer the long term win over the short term. Powerful, but sometimes the short term win is what matters.
  • If I really think it’s a good idea I’m willing to make the bet if win or lose depends on me. If it depends on a team, I have to convince them, not just tell them, or invite failure
  • I’m willing to fail. Not eager, but willing.
  • I believe in having a lot of ideas, because so few are good, but also because it takes practice to have ideas and vet them, to learn to let go of them when they aren’t quite good enough
  • I’ve learned, reluctantly and painfully, to try to guess carefully at the effort required, because once I commit I’m in, and it’s really easy to wind up foregoing sleep to not let something fail

That needs some work, but I wanted to capture some notes on this while I was thinking about it. I don’t know that it’s hard to teach or learn, but it seems to be rarely taught or learned.