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Thursday, January 22, 2009

The wrong way to do it

I was having a conversation with a co-worker about a neat program she had done over one weekend... the gist of it was a bunch of people got together, brainstormed an idea for a website, and over the course of one weekend you create the site. I thought that was a great program that followed principles that this site believes in... namely, YOU can do something and it's better to do something than to not. But then the conversation took a turn for the worse.

I checked out the site and said cool, so what's her team going to do next? She said none of them has time to work on the site. I said well, you can take baby steps and before you know it you'll get inspired and the site will take off. She said no way, none of them had time to do anything with it. So I asked, so what will you do with it? She said they needed to hire a CEO to run the site.

So I asked how they were going to pay the CEO's salary. She said venture capital funding. I wondered to myself where one was going to get venture capital funding for basically a site concept. Reminds me of the docudrama Startup.com, where the camera follows a bunch of young adults starting up a dot com during the height of the internet bubble (they somehow got $50 million worth of funding for a simple website concept). After a few more exchanges, I gave up.

Some of my thoughts on this story:

1. An idea or concept is a dime a dozen. It's the execution that counts. You need to develop your idea to the point where it's of value (and what's more of value than something that generates cashflow!). Venture capital firms back in 2000 were just plain stupid, and they've definitely learned their lesson.

2. You do have time to develop your idea. It doesn't matter how much time you can afford to spend on it, it's just that you consistently work on it... and you're constantly adjusting your strategy and thinking creatively. Can you spare 10 minutes a day? Every other day? That's all it takes to get going. And soon you'll be up and running.

There are two wonderful books that will help you with these two points. First, there's "Take 10: How to Achieve Your Someday Dreams" which introduces the 10 minute task idea. Second, there's "Getting Things Done" which talks about the concept of figure out what the next action is for a project.


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