Quit Being Stingy & Give Your Ideas Away

The nine students who are a part of Seth Godin‘s Alternative MBA Program, were tasked with coming up with 111 business ideas each. Fortunately for us, they posted them for all to pluck from.

I love to think of new things: business ideas, process improvements, enhancement to products and services, pretty much anything is up for ideation. This list puts things into perspective for me.

Ideas really are cheap.

In fact, they’re being given away. So, the true power of an idea must be in it’s execution. This challenges me in two ways:

  1. Keep my focus on the idea(s) that I’m truly passionate about executing
  2. Give away the rest (Check out this page for a list of my own ideas—feel free to take them)

Malcolm Gladwell says in his new book Outliers that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. In business, we could say that it takes 10,000 hours to become a success. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t?

The problem with my generation is that we’ve been spoiled by the dotcom successes. Somebody will launch an idea, like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, you name it, and within a short amount of time (1-3 years), they’re being offered millions of dollar$ to take it to the next level and a valuation of hundreds of $Millions. If I was honest, I expect that to happen to me too, but these successes are exceptions, not the norm.

Moving forward, I challenge all ideators, and myself, to ask and commit to the following question,

What idea are you willing to put 10,000 hours into?

If you can answer that question before you start hour-one, then I think you have an idea that’s worth pursuing.

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  • http://incrementalthought.com/ Jim Cowart

    I didn’t realize it was Gladwell that said that about ten thousand hours….I know what I’m willing to put 10k hours into though! :-)

  • http://www.kylechowning.com Kyle

    @Jim—Gladwell wasn’t the author, but he referenced it in his book. Anders Ericsson is contributed to being the author from the early 1990’s.

  • Eric Hurtgen

    the idea is also fleshed out in a variety of other books as well, like "Talent is Overrated" by Fortune Senior Editor Geoff Colvin. the interesting question to me is that plenty of people end up putting 10,000 hours or more into projects, but never get to a place of mastery (think middle management). obviously it matters how the 10,000 hours are spent (i.e. – feedback, mentorship, critically examing your own work, etc.), but why would someone give themselves to something without seeking mastery? in other words, it seems to me that there are many people who have given themselves to an idea but have never bought into the idea enough to pursue mastery. so free ideas float around with very few willing to pursue them…

    • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/chownage Chownage

      I love the way you think Eric. For me, and I think we would say the same thing, what a waste of 10,000 hours only to be still, stuck in the middle. I would hope that anybody who was intentional and proactive with their 10,000 hours wouldn't end up wondering where all the time went. Rather they would be at the top of something. Otherwise, what a waste.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/chownage Chownage

    I love the way you think Eric. For me, and I think we would same the same thing, what a waste of 10,000 hours only to be still, stuck in the middle. I would hope that anybody who was intentional and proactive with their 10,000 hours wouldn't end up wondering where all the time went. Rather they would be at the top of something. Otherwise, what a waste.

  • Eric Hurtgen

    Right! exactly. that said, i really like this idea of giving your ideas away. i think it probably does more to spur on collaborative effort than just about anything; plus it's a very healthy approach to business and life as well.

  • Kyle

    I'd like to know how he comes up with that #.