Why Your Brilliant Idea Is Worthless

2 min readJul 31, 2018

Successful startups are 1% idea and 99% execution. Not the other way around.

Have you ever heard of Elisha Gray? Or Alfred Wallace Russell?

The answer is probably “No”.

However, you’ve almost certainly heard of Alexander Graham Bell and Charles Darwin. So who were Mr E. Gray and Mr A. Wallace Russell? And what makes them such important players in human history?

The answer is Elisha Gray invented the telephone and Alfred Wallace Russelldeveloped the theory of evolution.

They were just unlucky enough for the credit to go to other people.

The point is that good ideas never happen in a vacuum. This phenomenon is known as ‘multiple discovery’.

It is therefore highly likely that out there in the world right now, someone else is working on an idea very similar to yours. Just look at the number of different food delivery services or the various exercise apps. There are quite a few, aren’t there?

What this means is that it’s not so much about the idea as who executes it best.

First time entrepreneurs tend to overvalue their idea but undervalue its execution.

Your idea is essentially worthless unless it is actually realised. Nine times out of ten, therefore, you should probably not be worrying too much about that twenty page NDA you want everyone to sign.

Remember that successful startups are 1% idea and 99% execution.




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