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All ideas respond to work

Pulitzer prize recipient, Tracy Kidder, says of writing:

That you can learn to write better is one of our fundamental assumptions. No sensible person would deny the mystery of talent, or for that matter the mystery of inspiration. But if it is vain to deny these mysteries, it is useless to depend on them. No other art form is so infinitely mutable. Writing is revision. All prose responds to work.

By the same virtue, don’t all ideas respond to work as well? Two ingredients are absolutely critical for turning an idea into something real. One, is the ability to accept that the idea must be shared, revised and refined before it can become real. The possibility existis (and is likely) that our initial theories on a matter are completely and utterly wrong.

The second ingredient is work in the form of execution. Beginning to work on the idea allows you to determine if there’s something there. Or maybe you’ll uncover a completely different opportunity. But neither outcome is possible if you don’t start doing something.

Chances are that the original idea is going to be wrong in some way. But in the process of learning that, you can uncover other hidden gems. For a great example of this, check out Heroku’s epic pivot which took them from web-based Ruby IDE to Platform as a Service bought by for $212MM in 2011.

Categories: 100 words per day, Business of Software, Platforms, Product/Market Fit.

© Copyright Jay Nathan, 2010-2014