An Idea Is Only Worth So Much

I love coming up with new ideas.

I come up with them on a daily basis to train the idea muscle—I picked up this trick from James Altucher. Sometimes they just pop into my head and I write them down somewhere. When I practice meditation and mindfulness the ideas come spewing out until my brain is empty—this is a new concept for me. Other times I have to think about a current problem that I’m facing and what a good solution would be. If it’s a really clever idea, I like to blog about it and even come up with a quick business plan.

Sometimes an idea seems so obvious that I have an innate urge to do a quick Internet search to see if it’s already been done before. Other times I like to just keep moving forward assuming it’s the first of its kind. This way I am not persuaded by anything I find in my research and can innovate with a clear mind.

An idea is only worth so much, though.

How many times do you see something on TV or a new invention that seemed so obvious at the time and think to yourself “I could have done that!”

Or you actually did think of the idea but never put in any work or effort to make it into a reality. “Hey! They stole my idea!”

And now you think you deserve some of the credit. So you tell your friends and family and co-workers that this new invention was actually your idea—the entire time living in some fantasy world. To be fair, I used to mix LaCroix with vodka as a light and refreshing alcoholic beverage with no sugars. Truly and White Claw totally stole my idea even though I didn’t have the time or resources to start an alcoholic beverage company from scratch.

I encounter these scenarios quite frequently. About six or seven years ago I used to make iPhone apps with a buddy. This was before the app market became totally saturated. Literally everyone thinks they have the best idea for an app. I still get calls to this day from friends and family “Hey you still making iPhone apps? I have this really good idea.” It’s pretty easy to shut down these ideas when I tell them how much it costs to make the app and how there is no market for it.

With the social media following that I’ve amassed, I’ve decided I’m going to start posting some of the ideas that I come up with. Maybe they will spark other ideas. Maybe you or someone you know will have the resources—money and contacts—to help you foster the idea and see if it can grow into a unicorn. Just shoot me some shares when you finally go public and give me credit for the original idea. That’s all I ask.

Because an idea is only worth so much.