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What are Ideas Worth?

We all have probably heard in the startup world that Ideas are Cheap, Execution is everything. Even though, an idea in itself holds no value but when clubbed with the right execution might actually fetch billions of dollars. When I say a standalone idea holds no monetary value, some might present the argument of the 65 million dollars that Mark Zuckerberg paid Divya Narendra and the Winklevoss twins for the idea of Facebook.

So, the question remains, what is an idea worth? Well, here’s my point of view.

Primarily, let’s define the meaning associated with the term ‘idea’. Ideas are not mere thoughts brewing in your mind; they are concepts based on research with a possible course to action. You might come up with a thought of a game changing business idea while chugging a beer in a bar, but this inception does not constitute the whole idea. The inception will transform into an idea when you follow that thought with research supporting the merits and identifying the challenges to overcome in order to generate value from the idea.

We have been born in a world surrounded by unicorns (a startup worth over $1 Billion) and while it may seem too easy, the years of hard work, experience, research, failures and evolution behind the success is what has built a foundation for the startup. It may also be established that the success of any startup is mostly attributed to the execution.

Although, the fact cannot be denied that pursuing an idea that makes good business sense is of key importance as well. A lot of time, energy and resources can be misspent on an idea that may not present a good business opportunity. When such ideas are pursued, all the execution efforts may be futile until that idea is evolved into a financially viable business model.

I come from a family of entrepreneurs. My dad and all my uncles have built several successful businesses. Being brought up in a business-oriented family, I have realized there is no substitute to a good product. You may present a great sales pitch to a potential customer but if your product does not satisfy the customer’s needs, the deal is most likely to fall through. Good products are a result of a lot of efforts from the whole team and it’s a trail of trials and errors perfected over time through constant customer feedback.

I have always had a predisposition towards entrepreneurship and business in general. Through my college years, I pursued a host of different ideas in the effort to carve out a name for myself and gain learnings and experience of the business world. Even the extra buck made also encompassed a great learning that business is money and the most important purpose of any for-profit business is, well, to generate profits.

While pursuing these ideas, the most valuable lesson that I have learnt over the years is to spend more time doing and less time thinking. We sometimes believe that thinking about a certain product or service and trying to improve it in our head might save us some time and energy but that may not be true most of the times. It is only when we implement these strategies that we identify what works and what does not. The customer feedback is important for the business to evolve because the ideas that we conceptualize just provide us a direction and are not road maps. The journey is carved out as we move along the execution phase. That’s the reason a model-based approach is suggested to building a proof of concept and let me explain this with an example.

I thought of starting a blog. I, then, needed to come up with the topics, decide on a writing style, platform to post the blog, and so on. With all these things to do, as much overwhelming as it sounds, I dissected the whole process into small tasks to perform. So, before everything else, I needed to write the first blog post and I did just that. Once I was done, I needed a platform to post my blog and I decided to do it on my own website. But for that I needed a website. Well, I could have taken a month to first create a complete website and then post the blog on the same. But I did not want to wait a month. So, I simply bought a domain and hosting plan and designed a single webpage for the blog post without even starting to build a complete website. When I did this, I was able to present my product (Blog) to my customers (You) without investing a lot of time, energy and resources. This model has enabled me to receive your valuable feedback to improve my writing and by the time I am ready to launch my complete website along with the blog, my writing would have hopefully evolved to attract more readers. Atleast, that’s the plan…

Even though, this blog is not purely a business venture, but I hope you understood the concept. So, the next time you come up with a billion-dollar idea, remember

Mere ideas in your mind are worth nothing, but acting on those ideas is where you create value.

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