VC companies say “idea’s worth nothing, execution is worth everything,” do you agree with that?

VC companies say “idea’s worth nothing, execution is worth everything,” do you agree with that? –@kortessIgor

I’m going to break it into two parts: What’s good for you and what’s good for VCs. Both are important.

What’s good for you is to get the idea muscle flowing. Everyone says “ideas are a dime a dozen.” This is true. But 99.99% of those ideas are bad ideas.  The idea muscle atrophies within days and most people don’t exercise it.

Get a pad today (I use waiter pads) and start writing down ideas. Pick any topic: ideas for businesses, ideas for how your neighbor can get more customers, ideas for novels, etc. Doesn’t matter. Cross out obviously bad ideas. Stretch your brain (it hurts, it’s like a yoga stretch) to come up with 10 ideas. Okay, now come up with 10 more. Hurt yourself.

Now, are these ideas doable? Cross off the ones that don’t have a concrete next step. Fill up the idea list to replace those you crossed off. Now, do you believe you can do these ideas? Cross off the ones you can’t or the ones you are not interested in. Replace those on the idea list. Your brain should be sweating by the time you are done.

Note: you just wrote down ten bad ideas. Do this every day. Within six months (assuming the other three areas of your life are healthy) you’ll be an idea machine. Don’t worry about that yet.

Now, execution. You just came up with ideas that have a concrete next step. So we know you can execute (again, as long as health is ruling you).

But here’s what VCs really care about: “what have you learned so far?”

In order to learn from your execution you need traction. You can’t just have a product (the first steps of execution) or a service but no traction. You need customers, users, and a learning curve that includes at least one or two mistakes you’ve learned from along the way. VCs want to hear what you’ve learned and how the business changed because of those experiences.

Then that shows you have traction, which meant you executed, which meant you developed an idea that they might be willing to fund.