Execution matters

11/04/2011

Yesterday, I saw a friend announce a project he’s been working on.

Several months ago, I gave him the idea. Since then, there was no word of him working on it or even considering it beyond the requisite, “that’s a really good idea” formalities.

I experienced the full spectrum of emotions.

Excitement that the idea had been used, confusion that I wasn’t made aware of the project’s development, and petty (and unrealistic) frustration that I wasn’t acknowledged in the pre-announcement.

None of that matters, though.

My friend took the idea (there’s actually no guarantee that the idea was new to him when I mentioned it, but it makes for a great story to assume) and actually did something with it.

“Idea people” (in this context, I mean people who never ship anything, but rather spend their time spouting off ideas for everyone while avoiding the hard work of creation) represent the antithesis of people who ship.

I wouldn’t consider myself (just) an idea person, but you can think of me as one in this example to illustrate the point.

Few ideas executed brilliantly are original. As a matter of fact, original ideas — so far as I can tell — rarely result in commercial success. But the people who take the time to execute on things properly, and see things through to completion, win. Often.

Could I have moved on the project myself? Well of course I could have.

But I didn’t.

Too bad.