A colleague and I have been jostling around start-up ideas for the last six months. We have worked well together in the past, and would likely make a very productive team going forward. It was desire, looking for an idea to quench itself.
A few days ago, upon letting me know he was putting the last iteration of the idea on the back burner (I had actually been forced to bow out a few weeks prior, as a new client absorbed my waking hours), he said something that will stick in my mind for a long time to come:
“I reserve the right to vacillate on the idea a little longer.”
At first, one might think this guy had gotten cold feet, and was trying to bow out gracefully. My impression was something quite different. Not only do I respect this person’s highly refined business saavy, but I didn’t think the idea was a full-blown go either. This statement reflects not a lack of gusto, but a concept stuck up on a shelf, in plain view, for a little more pondering.
The lesson here – don’t give up, just know when to take a break.
Too many ideas hit the ground running, and never see the light at the end of the tunnel. Rarely is it a lack of enthusiasm that makes the concept slip fluidly into the gutter. More so, it is selectively ignoring basic risk reward relationships – economics and personal, that are so critical to turning an executive summary into a “living, breathing” entity with a better than outside shot at being called a going concern.
What made the approach we were taking so arduous was not so much that we couldn’t come up with good ideas, or that we found too many others doing something similar. Our search spanned the “flavors-of-the-day”, as well as some esoteric meanderings that raised more than a few eyebrows. No, our trouble stemmed from actually looking at ideas in a practical light, dissecting how System A competed with Product B, and how Software X enhanced Service Y and Z.
Rather than continue to expound upon this idea indefinitely, I decided to get scientific about what is going on in the tech marketplace. I have constructed a mathematical model which accurately reflects my most recent discoveries. I believe this model solves for actual value creation, using easily obtainable data from the present day software/internet realm:
$ to be made this moment in technology = (∆ (email ↔ webmail)ⁿ / (1*√(DATE)bloggingsitecount))ⁿ – (allsocialnetworkingsites * initialinvestmentoffirstsocialnetworkingsite)ⁿ + (savingsfromopensourcesoftwareuse)ⁿ – (savingsfromopensourcesoftwareuse)ⁿ + (advancementsinpersonaldatabasedevelopment / ∑ timeforindividualstolearnanewscriptinglanguage)ⁿ, where n = ((∞∩∂Ω™ + (every₤earnedfromRSSfeeds * thenumberoffeedssentbackandforthbetweenthesametwosites)) – all existing $ going to Google)
Make sense? No wonder we couldn’t figure out a concept/profitable business model combination up until now!
Originally posted to the thoughtmarket predecessor site by mg on March 29, 2004 07:39 AM