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Co-Founders: Your Idea is Worthless. Show Your Chops (go-to-hellman.blogspot.com)
48 points by codypo 2483 days ago | hide | past | web | 26 comments | favorite

This article is too long for what it delivers. Most of it is a derivative of what all the talking heads say: "Ideas are meaningless. Execution is everything".

The value of this article can be boiled down to the following sentence. If you're not a technical co-founder be prepared to show off your sales and marketing chops before you start looking for one.

The article brings a valid point. If you're a wanna-be entrepreneur and all you have an idea, that's not nearly enough.

The article is making a valid point, but there is an equally valid counter-point that I think is being obscured. Many technical co-founders expect that coding is the entirety of what they will do, hence the shopping list of a non-technical co-founder who will do 'everything else'/'all the boring bits'.

If the only thing you - as a technical person - are bringing to the founders table is programming skills, then you're at the wrong table. Get yo bitch ass over to the 'low digit employee number queue'.

You might be one of the first employees, but you're not co-founder material. Technical people who only bring coding skills are just as worthless as non-technical people who only bring an idea.

I thought it added value with the listed evidence that a founder has non-technical chops. I have similar conversations with people, it always comes down to asking them how they justify their expertise above and beyond having the idea.

I agree with you. I think he should have elaborated on those points.

It ends with his own job ad for co-founders.

>And I got you to read this far, didn't I?

he got me to skim to the end and tl; dr the whole thing

mutual optimization!

If Ideas are meaningless, then why the first question everyone asks "What is the idea you pursuing?"

The idea, and more importantly, the presentation thereof -sales pitch- usually answers by itself a whole range of questions, including: target market & opportunity, positioning, ballpark estimate of market size, competitive advantage; and also, more important co-founding qualities: sales, and marketing quality of the pitcher, and a ballpark estimation on the "level of entrepreneurship" he is.

This weeds out 99% of the idea-guys in 2 sentences. They get their obligatory nod, smile, ask a fun poke question, or two, pretend not to know anything about computer voodoo, then proceed striking up a conversation with a more interesting fellow.

IFF they pass this, then, and only then, we can proceed to poking more in-depth questions, and sizing up eachother. Otherwise, it's a waste of both of our time.

Keyword: pursuing.

true, they should be asking what market are you pursuing and how will know about you? Meaning how will you convert their "supposed" interest into sales.

Ideas are worthless. Great Ideas are worth their weight in gold.

It's hard to determine the value of many (great?) ideas from the start. hence we have various ways of idea risk management: customer development(for market risk), prototyping(for technical risk) and market research(which is the weakest form usually, for market risk).

Ideas passed through this methods are worth much more, but still most of them can be copied without good execution.

People who say ideas are worthless have never had a worthwhile idea.

Dude, did you even read his entire one line post, or did you just rush straight into 'witty put down mode'?

Edit: also - people who voted this guy up - what the [redacted] is wrong with you? Reading comprehension: it's not that hard.

His one-liner was "ideas are worthless", and "great ideas are worth their weight in gold". I interpreted the latter as "great ideas are worth zero".

So unless I misinterpreted the last part, his comment was the first with witty put downs.

Good ideas are valuble and worthwhile. And it may take many years of hard work to come up with them. This is why the patent system was created: to allow people who come up with these ideas to have them valued as worthwhile, and compensated as such.

I understand there are some people who just have an idea that is shallow, and then do nothing with it. But the original comment said all ideas were worthless.

Worth their weight in gold is a common way of saying that something is very valuable.

Are you an Aspie? You're being far too clever/literal, reading too much into his statement with your weight of a great idea = 0 therefore worth = 0 calculation.

The natural and much easier interpretation of what he wrote is that good ideas are common as muck, whereas great ideas are of great worth.

You really have to go through some quite unnatural contortions to arrive at the conclusion you did; that he said all ideas are worthless.


You may be right, he may have been trying to have some subtle play with words. If so, I apologise. However, it isn't the way his statement would normally be read.

If an idea saves you a month of work, its value is exactly equal to the value of a month of work, right?

Only on a relative scale. On an absolute scale, it means that month of work was a big negative.

I'm glad that everyone objecting that ideas are NOT worthless are so appreciative of irony.

There's a postscript to the article. "JT" actually found his technical co-founder. The lesson to take away from this is that if you want to find a technical co-founder, you have to sell yourself more than you have to sell your idea.

I don't think the question is about non-technical business people 'showing chops...'

This is about smart people - there are brilliant business people and there are brilliant hackers.

They don't need to worry about showing chops (whatever that means) - they'll worry about ideas and creating greatness one way or another.

I've come to hate the usage of the word "chops," outside of the music industry.

And, perhaps, food.

And lumberjack competitions.

Don't forget sideburns.

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