I recently attended a networking event that was also attended by some very innovative people and the people that provide venture capital to them. It got me to thinking – what are the people here doing that I am not? Is it that they have just come up with better ideas than I have? Not really. I (like many other people) have had many ideas for products that I never acted upon only to see them implemented later by some person more passionate than I. I’ve missed out on implementing a few great ideas simply because I talked myself out of them.
My reasons for never starting these projects are usually pretty lame. Let’s look at just a few:
Someone is probably already working on that.
So what? How do you know? Maybe yours will be better. Even if not, maybe yours will feature something that their product does not. You may not have a better product in the end, but you may have something that is better about yours. Even if you don’t get customers, you can see if there is something you can provide from your product to help improve the product of others.
It is too big or complicated of a project.
Break it down and make it smaller modules that can be tackled individually. Work on one at a time, or find other like-minded individuals to work on it with you. More on this one later…
I see one particular challenge that I know I will not be able to get around.
This is usually my biggest excuse. Break the project up. Work up to the challenge, and around it. All the while, you can be trying to solve that one thing and when you do, you are done. I thought of a great idea a while back – it was like ten or fifteen years ago. I was going to figure out how to provide a mobile phone with a way to become a credit card machine so that everyone could process credit cards anywhere. I came up against one major challenge – how to work out the actual card data into the phone. I could have had the entire rest of it working – an app that charges a credit card, all of it – except for that one part. Admittedly, now looking at Square and other solutions, the idea is terrific (a hardware device that encodes credit card strips as sound into the headphone jack), but I could have been so close well before the release of any of these products. My friends still remind me “Didn’t you have that idea years ago?” wayyy too often. Ouch.
I don’t have time.
I don’t actually doubt it for some people, but for most of us, that is just patently false. Just lay off on something [insert favorite time-wasting pastime here] and be constructive.
I think it is pretty clear that this blog post is really a pep talk for me more than anything else. As a result, I am going to begin a new (large scale) project for myself. Not something that will make me a mint necessarily, or something that nobody else is doing, or something with challenges that I am not sure how to meet.
Just something that is mine.
Keep an eye out. I may WILL require help on this one. More to come.