Following a discussion of an entrepreneur that was lacking the right idea, I came across a post where an entrepreneur was asking the community for startup ideas he could consider for his first startup venture. He quite simply wasn’t able to come up with anything that he could be that passionate enough about to pursue. What’s fascinating, but not surprising is the community replied with ideas they came up with which could become his next startup venture!
I say ‘fascinating’ because some years ago this would have been a joke. I mean how can someone ask for innovative startup ideas expecting people to share them when these ideas could be worth millions right? I say ‘not surprising’ because attitudes towards ideas have changed and in this highly networked and collaborative world we live in connected by the web, more people realize it’s not just about ideas, but what you can build on top of them that really counts in business.
“Ideas” are separate from “execution” just as open source software is different from running a business using open source software. Take the concept of cloud computing for example. The hardware and resources and the concept are not only shared, but developed to allow for collaboration and co-creation of solutions and businesses on top of what exists to provide people with something more. In today’s environment, ideas, concepts, business models and even software are universally shared and available it’s more about who builds business (or something else) on top of them.
While many traditional businessmen and entrepreneurs still worry about the security of “ideas” when it comes to crowdfunding or working within a community like Grow VC, the paradigm shift in how innovation is happening and new startups are born has already begun and keeping ideas close to one’s chest is not a part of that changing trend. It’s not just Grow VC where ideas are shared in the process of building sustainable businesses on the. There are others moving in this general direction as the value of an idea on its own is dropping and the focus shifts to execution.
How many startups can you name where the idea alone was the key driver of their success? That they had to keep the idea secret and it would be truly impossible for more established actors to steal? You are probably drawing a blank here.
Also as entrepreneurs should fall in love with their ideas, in order to be able to commit several years to their venture – how many entrepreneurs fall in love with other people’s ideas? Commitment is the start of the venture and if cracks appear in the commitment, it will show along the way regardless of what type of patchwork you employ to cover the cracks.
It takes more than one man with an idea to make things work and build successful startups which is why building on it with the right people becomes paramount. So before we cling on to the notion that publishing an idea is the end of your possible venture remember:
Being a startup is nothing else than being an architect in using existing ideas, concepts and software “legos” to solve existing market and customer problems with a great team. Building value relies on the execution and funding can be one of the enabling forces. The idea is only the beginning.
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This entry was posted on Monday, April 18th, 2011 at 1:16 pm and is filed under How to invest in startups. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.