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Ideas and execution – an enormous difference in effort (iainchalmers.org)
31 points by bigiain on Dec 14, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 9 comments

We just (as in, just finished this afternoon) had a whole 2 days of almost exactly this -- realestate.com.au (REA group) has quarterly "hack days", where we work, either independently or in spontaneous teams, on whatever we feel like doing. Mostly, it's related to and guided by technical or product ideas that would benefit the company.

However, what always, always strikes me is that no matter the good idea, and no matter how well thought out and planned it is, it's always going to need a heap of work to make it move beyond the initial concept phase into something that has half a hope of standing the whims and vagaries of a real production environment, with real users.

Whatever project wins the day, gets company support to continue development -- and so far, months of solid work from extremely high-functioning and skilled teams is what it's taken to get anything that can actually be deployed and used consistently. There is no such thing as a quick win, even with a quick good idea.

It all goes to show, hard work always wins in the end, and execution is more often than not the downfall of so many otherwise great ideas.

The project written about in the linked article, which might seem like a simple piece of controllable hardware, will require months of significant time and effort from many, many dedicated folks to reach reality as a manufacturable product, but that's the same as almost anything that successfully sees the light of day. TANSTAAFL, indeed.

The interesting thing about modern systems of involvement is that it's entirely possible to assist a project along its way, without having to be a marketing genius, technical whiz, or market playing venture capitalist. As we see in our hack days, lots of little pushes can make more difference in some cases than one big push.

At ABC Innovation, where I am at the moment, every day is like this. There is a constant flurry of research, ideation, analysis - but the most important part of all that is figuring out which approach, of all these, to put our energy behind. Because the next part is a massive amount of hard work, with dev, ops, design, project management, editorial people; the deployment of serious resources. Which in the end is time spent away from our families, as well as the unstinting attention of a lot of skilled people.

So damn right, the effort of making something real is huge. All the more reason to be sure that you're working on a really good, important idea.

And yes, a lamp with a LAMP stack is a bloody great idea. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cloudlight/light-1


As a fellow ABC co-worker, and platform dev on the light, Thank you.

I had another "ideas guy" pitch me last night, and I wrote him most of this in an email, which when finished turned out to look like being worth a blog post.

This is for all those people who "just need a technical guy to code up my idea!"

It doesn't work like that. It _especially_ doesn't work like that if your idea is hardware…

That is the reason, why I (being a product-guy at work) am learning to code. The more scripts I write, the more I learn about the faulty thinking of "this one should be easy".

It helps me to talk to the makers more clearly, more concise and more realistically. But it differentiates me so far from other product guys (or my uppers), as they do not understand, when I tell them, that their ideas might not be so easy to implement, as they believe.

Makes being the "middleware" between product-management and makers much more difficult, as I insist more and more on clear communicated specs, when I am used as a translator for the other product-guys.

Execution is the real deal. There was a nice quote from Derek Sivers[1], that ideas are just a multiplier for execution:

[1]: http://sivers.org/multiply

that is true - it's a genuine collaboration between the various people and their skills + the original idea evolves as part of the process

This is why I don't think the patent system should be so focused on ideas. It should be a lot more focused on how much effort it takes to implement that idea and actually make it work, and the time for which the patent is granted (if granted at all) should be based on that. You shouldn't get 20 years monopoly on a slide-to-unlock type of patent. But it may be reasonable to get 20 years for something that takes years of work and millions of dollars of investment.

The current system seems to believe too much that "the more patents we have = the more innovation we have". This has come right out of the US president's mouth recently, and it was the same type of thinking for the unitary EU patent, and why Putin also wants to do something similar in Russia. The focus is entirely in the wrong direction.

I really like how this post evolves from bitching about not having enough time to play, to being egged into playing with some hardware, into the ask for a kickstarter project.

Well done!

Wow. Just amazing. Humble thanks.

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