sacred ideas

We live in an era where ideas are so powerful we sacralize them. They appear almighty:

Get the right idea and succeed; get the wrong idea and fail.

So every day, people keep signing non-disclosure agreements prior to sharing their ideas and entrepreneurs spend a lot of time trying to find the right idea, before starting a new company.

And it sounds like the right thing to do.
So many so-called unicorns, these startups whose valuation exceed $1B, seem to have been built on the right idea.

But here's the thing. As you get a bit more experienced and connected with other entrepreneurs, you realize many of them struggle to keep their company afloat with what, at the time, looked to be the right ideas.

The reasons for that? The rapid obsolescence of the data relative to any idea and a slow adaptation to the new context.

The fast-paced world we live in can make a great idea irrelevant in the blink of an eye and, as fast, make a mediocre one become spot on.

All the market validation tactics, while valid, have in reality a limited impact on the future of a company. Sure, they will give an indication of where the market is at when launching the new product. But their incapacity to foresee even the mid-term future (how long is mid-term for a company nowadays anyway? 6 months?), should force us to reconsider the time invested into the theoretical pre-launch phase during which an idea is supposed to become validated.

As for the unicorn companies, the headlines of their stories often don't tell if they were built on the right idea from the start. We'd have to dig in order to finally see and accept the importance of serendipity and letting the idea evolve, in every successful business.

With experience, I've come to believe that no idea is born great enough to guarantee success.

Ideas mature, evolve. They smash themselves against real life, sometimes for good.

What can we do to force the evolution of ideas?

Two things.

One is to accept the time factor.
Accept that in order to mature, an idea needs time. It requires the process of collecting ideas and letting our unconscious mind do the work. But also accept that a good idea can turn bad super quickly and that the context is constantly changing.

Which leads us to the second point. The best way to accelerate the maturity of an idea, and at the same time to preserve it from obsolescence, is to execute against it with great determination. To switch the theory mode off and the action mode on.

Sometimes building the right thing first requires us to build the wrong thing for a while. Some ideas require actual real world execution to evolve. They need to be shaken. To be roughed up.

And the only way we'll allow ourselves to do that, is to desacralize ideas.

It's true that some ideas are better than other ones. But movement, action is the only thing that matters in the end. Because the right idea not executed is worth nothing, but a mediocre one well taken care of and well executed can prove to be worth much.