Chicken and Egg
In the Forbes article Secrets of the Self-Made, 14 self-made members of the Forbes 400 were asked a bunch of interesting questions. I found one particularly intriguing.
“What is more important: the idea or the execution?”
For starters, the grammar of the question is erm…in question. But I digress.
While some of the entrepreneurs took the middle ground saying that one without the other is worthless, the statements of those who took one over the other were quite insightful.
Those that chose execution over ideas assumed that there was an abundance of ideas. Those that chose ideas seemed to have no problem finding people who could bring it to fruition. Or they’d say that an idea without execution is worth nothing. Alternatively, there is no execution without the initial idea.
Personally I think that what defines a good idea is when it lends itself to solid, compact execution. Ideas are aplenty, but good ideas - ideas that are simple and earth-shattering at the same time - are few and far between. It is impossible to perfectly execute an idea if it is vague and its benefits ethereal. I’m sure you can relate to having been involved in projects where the only benefit it provided anyone would come from its completion and quiet death.
Jorge Perez sums it up best when he answered, “The idea is more fun and stimulating but the devil is in the details”. The line between idea and execution is a fine one. If I have a great idea, then proceed to sit down and elaborate on it a little, would that still be part of the idea or its execution?
Oh and by the way, if the guys at Forbes.com are reading this, putting all the questions on a slideshow is terrible execution of a bad idea.