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Your idea sucks now go do it anyway (asmartbear.com)
138 points by vitomd on Sept 25, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 19 comments

It's better to act than not act, because action brings knowledge: imagine shooting a target in the dark, and can only hear how close you were: Ready. Fire. Aim. (and repeat). It's also literally what you do to find and then correct for a mis-calibrated sight.

It's the notion that seeing reality helps a lot. Once you know what is there, you can have ideas that can help. Whereas ideas that are not based on reality are very unlikely to work.

minor e.g. I find that my problem solving works best once I've started trying something. With each thing I try, I notice more: similarities, patterns, gaps that could be filled, things that could be connected; and I have ideas about how other things at hand could be used to do that. These are often obvious in hindsight; but I didn't think of them at all beforehand.

Of course, one might not succeed anyway - the pop. stat. is 9/10 businesses fail. But not discovering reality has even worse odds.

If you know your idea sucks this means you need to change it, revise it, pivot or whatever you want to call it.

Every success that started with a lousy idea became a success because they recognized their idea sucks and changed it, not kept perpetuating failure. It is a very dangerous attitude to just dismiss legitimate feedback, hope everything just magically fixes itself and lull yourself in the sense of complacency that "it will just work out". Hope is not a strategy.

Of course it is inspirational to know that even if you start with a lousy idea you could be able fix it. But don't assume the solution will just fall in your lap and do the hard work pivoting your product and business.

While these stories are inspirational I wonder how many complete failures are hidden behind survivor bias. I think a lean methodology would have served those companies well without so much spent effort in their initial products.

So I guess I still agree you shouldn't sit pontificating on business ideas, but you shouldn't just dive into building a complete something either. There is a rich middle ground.

Reading the article I remembered...

For a while I was fascinated and amazed at projects pursuing absurd mega-goals, attempts to get something off the ground so big it was nigh unto stupid. A floating city configuring an independent libertarian utopia nation. A billion-dollar indoor ski resort just outside Atlanta. A bridge from Spain to Africa sporting a 5 mile suspended span. A world-class [fill in the blank, how much ya got?] facility annex to a super-mall in "why would anyone move there" Syracuse NY. And so on, one project after another with big flashing "ain't gonna happen" signs over them.

Then I realized. It wasn't success of the project that was the goal, it was keeping a small team of creatives employed in a perpetual state of promotion and study-funding: find someone with deep enough pockets, and they'll shell out a livable fee to be able to say "hey, look at this..." to other deep pockets. No way that Atlanta ski resort would happen, but the idea was exciting enough to elicit enough funding for studies to pay the bills (at least until the vital-to-snow-making nearby lake almost dried up) for a few people in modest offices. You can make a nice living promoting stupid ideas.

And if the stupid idea actually pans out, takes off, and succeeds, well, the possibility of success is awesome enough to keep trying.

There is an impressive ski-resort in the mall downtown in Dubai, where it's about 110 deg F (43 deg C) in the summer.

Dubai is about the only place that can support such crazy mega-projects (and is now finding the hard way that mega-development requires mega-maintenance).

The Atlanta ski resort was planned to be 4 times bigger than the Dubai one, and it hits 100 in the summer here too.

This is what I finally decided two weeks ago about my "dumb app idea" Trollaroid. I put a workable version on the Android market and had a few people use it, and since then I've already had more good ideas from feedback than I had for three months mulling it over. The fact that it's now out in the public has also been a force towards me actually working on it.

I liked the article because if you wait a magical idea then you will get stuck. I think that is better a mediocre idea well executed than a awesome idea inside your head.

Cool, a screenshot from Game Never Ending! It had never occurred to me that those might be out there. Turns out there's actually a museum:


Huh. It turns out Glitch, Butterfield's current company, is just Game Neverending 2.0.

Better to get your bubble burst early when its only a pop, rather then later when its a crash. From my experience people who dream too much or dont wanna loose face cause they told everyone how great their idea is, are the ones that crash and dont progress.

joke about your idea and test it, and you will suceed more likely could be the message here

Completely agree with the article.

My idea... well it doesn't suck, but it was more work than what it needed to be. After a few thousand customers I realized what needed to be done. Now it's better but not quite where I want it to be, still need to pour more $$$ in to get it there.

Problem is you need at least a few hundred customers before you start noticing the cracks in your idea. If your idea sucks so bad that you can't get a few hundred people to believe in you enough to give you $$$ then it probably is so bad that you shouldn't do it.

(no, i haven't submitted to ycombinator yet, I'm waiting for a swift kick in the ass)

Reed Hastings articulated it pretty well recently - "Companies rarely die from moving too fast, and they frequently die from moving too slowly."


This is the single most important differentiator I've found between people wishing and dreaming to start a business. I always encourage the get it done mentality but people find reasons not to instead. More for me I guess...

Stop thinking, start doing. Rule 1: Hustle. Rule 2: Pull the trigger and just do it.

define: hustle (in this context).

Run ahead. Doesn't matter which direction you're pointing in when you start, you'll still get some SEO juice at the end.

Also, just to be nitpicky, I think Facebook's photo repository is much larger than Flickr's.

Article is from 2008.

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