Why I disagree that startup ideas are worthless


In the startup world, most will say that an idea is worthless, and it’s all about execution.

I disagree.

Of course, execution is absolutely essential, and an idea with zero execution is worthless.

But coming up with many possible ideas and selecting the right idea is very, very important.

If your idea is a social network for doorknobs, I don’t care how well you execute, you’re not going to build a successful business.

Most people in the startup world say to focus on the problem, not the idea.

I do agree with that.

Identifying a big problem is one of the most important things you can do at the early stages of building a company.

But coming up with ideas of how to solve that problem creatively and uniquely is so important as well.

Most of the time, a good idea isn’t something that just pops into your head randomly while brainstorming with a few pints of beer.

Ideas are the result of experience and knowledge of a particular subject matter.

Ideas can be forged while talking to potential and current customers and subject matter experts.

Good ideas are created by research, testing, and insight.

The act of coming up with ideas is a process. And an important one.

First Round Capital partner Josh Kopelman, one of the most successful and influential venture capitalists, says that most entrepreneurs don’t spend enough time on idea selection (see bullet point #2 of this blog post).

In my mind, creating and selecting the right idea is just as important as identifying the problem and executing at a high level.

Do you agree or disagree?

I’d love to hear from you. Write your thoughts in the comments, tweet at me @mikewchan, or email me at mike@mikewchan.com.

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