The Serious Bit: Ideas are easy. Execution is everything!
I have been thinking about this a lot since I listened to a podcast featuring the most excellent Casey Neistat. In the podcast, Mr Neistat spoke about how people come to him with ideas, for movies or businesses, but he doesn’t care about ideas. All he cares about is DOING STUFF.
It resonated with me a lot, because up until very recently I was all about the ideas, but hadn’t hopped over to the execution bit. I have had a few decent business ideas, perhaps they could have worked. Sometimes I was close to starting the execution phase, most of the time I was nowhere near. But who cares? Nobody gives a fuck about that guy who says “I totally thought of making Netflix before Netflix did”. Yeah. But you didn’t. It’s all about what you do. Not what you say. Ideas are the easy part. Execution is what matters.
There is this bad-ass dude called Wim Hof. He is more commonly known as the Ice Man. He is all about DOING STUFF. He has some theories about controlling his body, in particular harnessing the power of his body while in extremely cold conditions through breathing techniques. He sits in ice baths and runs marathons across the arctic. He can even adapt his immune system to fight off poisons purposefully introduced to his body. Many people might be skeptical about this. But he can do it. You can’t argue with that. The proof is in the doing.
Business plans commonly ask for USPs. Investors like to ask what separates one business or project from another, what makes your idea special. But so often it has so little to do with the idea, and everything to do with the execution. What is big difference between the iPhone and the Samsung one? THERE ISN’T ONE. They are practically the same thing. And these are two of the biggest companies in the world, making and selling the same shit. But both companies executed amazingly well and now we all have a smart phone within one metre of us. There must be plenty of phone companies that had great ideas but we have never heard of them. Maybe we don’t need a USP. We just need ACTION.
Of course, to execute a plan you need to have the idea first. And ideally the idea is a good one. There are also ideas which may be exceedingly difficult or even impossible to execute. For example, selling doors door-to-door. But in the end it seems that the execution is far more important.
I’m fairly sure the same principle applies to me now. I recently decided to organise an event. J Con will be an anime, manga, cosplay and Japanese culture event. Kinda like Comic Con, but more Japan and less America. I have spent a long time racking my brains over whether it is a good idea or not. Whether it is possible to make something of it. But as an idea it is nothing new. People love going to these events, and interest is growing all the time. So the idea is validated. It is all about executing the plan now.
Nobody ever walked into a café and asked “Could I have a cup of hot milk with a small amount of coffee in there, that mostly tastes of milk, please?” But that is mostly what people get in cafes. What about actually tasting coffee? It can be exceedingly delicious, after all.
I was recently getting the hair chopped when the sound of ALDOC’s incredible mix of Irish flute and soothing rhythm entered the air. I made sure to ask what it was, and I have been listening to Aldoc’s album “In Halle” since. The last track, “Euge”, is enchanting. Bonus Extra, because Electric Picnic. London Grammar. Holy amazeballs their performance on the main stage was captivating.
Gwen Jorgensen is a World and Olympic Champion triathlete and regularly blows all her competitors out of the water. But she’s a real person too. So inspiring. http://www.gwenjorgensen.com/blog/
Ben Brown’s Arctic Visual Vibes. Watch it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cniqsc9QfDo