Cheap Ideas, Expensive Implementation

April 4, 2008

Sensabaugh TunnelImage by pixiesticks23 via FlickrTom is out at an Innovation Conference and has been updating me via Tweets. One just came across that says, “good ideas are cheap, good implementations aren’t.” What a good idea, too bad there is such poor implementation of it. (wink)

We’re all happy to crawl the web, picking up on good ideas and tweaking them to our needs. After all, ideas are cheap and it’s no biggie for us to steal them. There might even be the feeling that if an idea is posted online, it must not be that good and has less value. But as soon as we think up our own ideas, they are instantly worth millions and need to be hidden and protected. Wrongidy wrong, Mr Wrongo from Wrongville. Good ideas that are on the web, behind the firewall, and in the back of your mind are all dirt cheap. Let the ideas be free, pick out the best from the massive idea stew, and set to the difficult and expensive work of implementation.

A couple illustrative points here. Putting video on the web is a great idea. Lots of websites popped up to implement the idea. Years passed, dozens of online video sites were up and running, and then YouTube blows everyone away with the best implementation of a great idea.

Keeping it all in the family, the great idea behind Google’s search algorithm was published in 1999. Most other search engines have tried to copy this great idea, but Google implemented it better. Game over. Google owns search now.

Is it time to give up trying to protect ideas?

Things I’m advocating:

  1. Realize that ideas are cheap, overlapping, and amorphous. Hardly any ideas fall in a completely white space with no other ideas around it. Accept that your brilliant idea is echoed elsewhere. Go out and understand related ideas asap.
  2. Break down the idea walls
  3. Let ideas come from anywhere, mash-together, and have even cooler idea babies
  4. Start implementing the best ideas
  5. Protect the implementation, not the idea

This is the kind of thing we’re trying to do here at Wedia Up. Gather and share all of the ideas we can so that LoMediaCo’s can pick the best ideas to implement. And, if needed, we’ll be around to help with the full innovation process from ideation to implementation.

(Zemanta Update: whenever I type the word “google” Zemanta gets way too caught up with finding Google info. The tunnel picture is the only non-google related image Zemanata served up for me. Bummer.)

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One Response to “Cheap Ideas, Expensive Implementation”

  1. […] can read more on this talk from my friend Tom who is working with this cool dude, Nick, who I haven’t yet […]

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