Push it out to gain some perspective

Are ideas the currency of the 21st century? I don’t think so. You see, an idea is worth nothing; at least, not until somebody’s done something with that idea.

A trap that people can easily fall in to is becoming too precious about their ideas, and not telling anybody else about them. It may sound counter intuitive, but this is the worst possible thing that a person can do.

If I think about an idea for too long it becomes stagnant. An idea needs air, and it needs to meet other people. Otherwise your handsome prince will turn in to a gruesome ogre. It’s quite possible that your idea contains a kernel of promise, but it takes skill to tease it out.

Almost every idea I’ve ever worked on has gone through countless iterations before its complete. This is because those eureka moments where it appears as if an idea has popped in to your head fully formed, often don’t stand up to scrutiny. The best thing to do is talk to somebody as quickly as possible; whether its your partner, your mum, or a man on the street, it doesn’t matter. By talking to someone you’ll soon gauge whether or not its a good idea. But a word of warning: men are often much more enthusiastic about ideas than women, so listen to women; they’re much more sensible beings!

Once you’ve decided that your idea is a fantastic one, make sure that you don’t closet it up again as you work on it. It’s possible to get too close to an idea, and to get too concerned about the minutiae when its the big picture that really matters. Whats needed is perspective!

I rarely, if ever, work on an idea solely by myself, and there are a few less-than-obvious reasons for me doing this. Firstly, the day-to-day feedback is invaluable. Secondly, its not possible to know everything. And lastly, its a great relief to send off a finished drawing/piece of code/model/whatever at the end of the day. It allows your brain to rest, and when you come back to it, you’ll be able to be more subjective about its positives and negatives. It also provides distinction to your working life.

If you’re working on the same idea for months at a time, being able to send it away for others to look at provides mile stones to work to, where otherwise, you could be going further and further down the rabbit hole into the unknown. Where does the rabbit hole lead? I’m not sure, but by getting advice you’ll be much more likely to reach a better place at the end of it.

A final word about competitors; Microsoft, Apple et al will not steal your idea! These massive companies have lengthy development pipelines, and by the time they’ve noticed your idea, and responded to it, you’ll be two years ahead of the game and gaining market share by the day.

Good luck with your idea, and don’t forget: Get some perspective!