Ideas are Multiplier of Execution

Derek Sivers writes:

It’s so funny when I hear people being so protective of ideas. (People who want me to sign an NDA to tell me the simplest idea.)

To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.



SO-SO- EXECUTION = $10,000
GREAT EXECUTION = $1,000,000

To make a business, you need to multiply the two.

The most brilliant idea, with no execution, is worth $20.
The most brilliant idea takes great execution to be worth $20,000,000.

That’s why I don’t want to hear people’s ideas.
I’m not interested until I see their execution.

Windows 95 and Vista

John Jordan connects the dots:

Everyone is watching Microsoft, which is preparing to launch a new operating system next year. Last month merely changing the name from code (Longhorn) to product (Vista) devoured a lot of attention, and more recently a stripped-down version of the product shipped to beta testers. The product has been a long time in coming, and the scope has been managed downward in several respects. Nevertheless, both Microsoft and the industry more generally see Vista as a potential jump-start very much in the same category as Windows 95 ten years ago. Because Vista represents the first opportunity in over ten years to begin with a “clean sheet of paper,” unlike Windows 3.1, 98, ME, and 2000/XP, Bill Gates has repeatedly linked the two products in public.

Here’s another way of thinking about the comparison. In 1995, Microsoft turned the telephone network into an extension of the computer, or vice versa: between them AOL and Windows 95 made the Internet a household utility. In 2006, no parallel leap into an adjoining domain – think of home entertainment, specifically the television – will be supported. Bill Gates longstanding prediction about widespread adoption of a voice and speech interface to the PC will be addressed with Vista support, but even given a powerful standard processor configuration at its disposal, Vista still won’t make masses of people retire their keyboards.

In short, Windows Vista looks like a solid product for corporate purchasers, but the lack of “gee-whiz” and “I’ve always wanted to be able to do that” desirability will prevent end-user excitement from reappearing the way it did ten years ago. An industry in search of the next big thing will probably have to keep looking.

Building on the Wisdom of the Crowds

Greg Linden quotes Chris Anderson: “Amazon and Google … have built their brands on the power of their filters … Google’s search algorithms [and] Amazon’s recommendations … are nothing more than the wisdom of the crowds, the statistically measured opinions of millions of … people. That’s why we trust them.”

Greg adds: “Systems like Amazon’s recommendations and Google’s PageRank implicitly share the wisdom of the crowds. Collaborative filtering-based systems like Amazon’s recommendations use algorithms to find people with similar interests and share their wisdom. Google’s PageRank algorithm mines the link graph — links people made between web pages — to surface authoritative and useful sources of information…Implicit systems like Amazon’s and Google’s surface the wisdom of the crowds anonymously, quietly, and with no effort from users.”

Post-Media Age

Jeff Jarvis writes:

When you think about it, media are the artificial inventions of their means of distribution: Books begat authors; fast and cheap presses enabled reporters and press barons; TV bore anchors. But there is nothing to say that these media are preordained as the best methods of sharing knowledge and getting things done in society. They were the convenient ways. Emphasis on the past tense.

The natural means of interaction and of sharing information is, of course, conversation, through the ability to ask and answer questions, to impart and collect knowledge. Im not one to make allusions to primitive life as if that describes the natural state of man, but I will in this case: When you listened to the tribe storyteller, you could remix before passing on; when you heard from the town crier, you could stick your head out the window and ask for details; when you set the price of a good or service, you got to haggle with the seller. This is why Socrates said that education is a conversation, and why Luther said that prayer is a conversation, and why Cluetrain says that markets are conversations, and why I say that news is a conversation. That is the natural order of things.

Media changed that. Media made society one-way.

But now the internet drains the one-way pipes of media and pours us all in the same pond together. The internet enables conversation.

The internet is not a medium. It is the thing that challenges media.

TECH TALK: Internet Tea Leaves: Baidus August Action

It has been a fascinating August. A number of events have focussed attention on the Internet and the future. I had originally intended to write a column to look at ten years of the Internet and mobile phones in India. In fact, I wrote a column on the New Internet for Business Today. (It appears on pages 98-99 of the latest issue. I will reproduce it here later in this series.). The Week too had a recent cover on the Indian Internets first decade. But Ill take up that discussion later. For now, we will take up the bigger discussion opened up by six events which took place in August.

The first was Baidus IPO. Baidu is Chinas leading search engine. The perception that it is Chinas Google set the stock on fire on its opening day as it rose from $27 to over $150. (It has since settled at around $80 giving it a market cap of $2.5 billion.) Baidu raised over $100 million. For a brief period, it seemed like the dotcom heydays once again as discussions on revenues and profits were set aside. Investors who perhaps missed out on Googles IPO last year dont want to be left out! (For the record, Googles IPO a year ago was priced at $85. Today, Google trades at about $280, giving it a market cap of $80 billion, making it the most valuable media company in the world.)

In an article shortly after Baidus IPO, the Wall Street Journal provided additional context about Chinas Internet in which to view the IPO:

Internet companies in China are fighting over a small pie. The Chinese Internet-search market attracted total ad revenue of just $148 million in 2004, according to iResearch Inc. of Shanghai. While China’s advertising industry is booming, many major advertisers focus big campaigns on banner ads posted on Internet portals such as those of Sina Corp. and Inc., which remain more popular than search sites such as Baidu.

“We treat the portals as a national medium, after TV and print,” says Ralph Szeto, the China director of WPP Group’s mOne unit, which buys media space for clients’ ads. “But user habits are changing toward searching,” he adds, giving sites such as Baidu a niche among an estimated 600,000 small and midsize Chinese companies that pay anywhere from three fen to five yuan per advertising link. The yuan trades at about 8.1 to the dollar.

Moreover, most Chinese can’t afford computers and the country’s electronic-commerce market remains immature. Many Chinese prefer to download entertainment and communicate with friends through mobile phones, which are less expensive than computers.

In the future, “Internet content will merge with mobile-phone technology,” putting even more of a premium on media companies that can offer attractive content, says Peter Tan, director of consumer insights for Interpublic Group’s McCann Worldgroup ad agency in China.

Baidus IPO was the first of two events related to the Chinese Internet. The second had to do with Yahoo and Alibaba.

Tomorrow: Alibaba and Yahoo