Hanging Onto Your Ideas Won't Make Them Happen

It's a theme we've touched on many times before, but it bears repeating: if you've got a great idea for a web site or application, you'll achieve more by sharing than by trying to "protect" it and keep it private until it's fully developed.Picture by Boundless Creations (one of the ten participants)

Over the weekend, I was on the judging panel for a Microsoft Bizspark Startup Camp event in Sydney. The ten participating teams had two days of training on developing for Windows Phone 7 and Azure, and then two days to develop a prototype business idea and pitch it to the panel of five judges. To break up the intensive development work, participants also attended sessions on business development and presenting.

There were a whole bunch of impressive ideas presented, ranging in readiness from almost-ready-to-launch through to neat concepts that require a bit of refinement. But one clear theme that emerged throughout the event was that sharing ideas was an essential step in both gaining support and in refining the concept. Execution is critical, and your execution can only improve if you share the idea with others.

James McCutcheon from start-up advisory firm noted that with the ease of rolling out a web site or a blog post, you can sample audience reactions to an idea by simply saying you plan to construct it — a kind of "pretend to build it and see if they come" strategy. If lots of people respond, you know the idea is worthwhile. If they suggest a slightly different idea, that direction might make more sense than your original strategy. And if no-one reacts, it's time to go in search of another idea.


    "If you’ve got a great idea for a web site or application, you’ll achieve more by sharing that by trying to “protect” it and keep it private until it’s fully developed."
    I think it was suppose to be 'than' instead of 'that', if not I'm a little confused

      Should indeed be "than", and is now. D'oh!

    There's this common misconception that all you need is a good idea, and that good idea will be what makes a successful product.

    False. It's true you can't have a good product without a good idea - but that's only a tiny part of the battle. The reason Apple is so successful has very little to do with their ideas (others have usually tried and failed at similar things), and everything to do with their suburb execution of ideas.

    I've always had the concept of everything being "10% inspiration, 90% perspiration" drummed in to me. It's true, but what took me a while to figure out is how important the 90% is. You have to do that part really well, or how good the 10% was is irrelevant.

    Once you get the importance of ideas in to perspective, it becomes easier to share them without fear.

    You shouldn't worry about someone else stealing an idea - worry about executing it flawlessly, something you need outside opinions to do.

    Where is James McCutcheon from?

      Firstly thanks Angus for the writeup and glad you had got something value out of the lightening talk.

      @Al: You can check us out at www.foundry38.com

    I have some great ideas. I'm just not sure where to start...

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