I was recently listening to an episode of “Smart Talks”, where Malcolm Gladwell was interviewing IBM’s Rob Thomas. Rob shared a very short but noteworthy story:
There’s a rabbit and a beaver and they’re staring at the Hoover Dam. And the beaver says “I didn’t build it, but it’s based on an idea of mine”.
I’ve had a lot of seemingly good ideas over the years, but I’ve only executed some of them. The ones I didn’t pursue aren’t things I can claim.
A good example of that is a site called “Yard Sale” that never got built. The idea was simple – a buddy of mine and I wanted to start an online auction site so people could sell things to one another. It was 1994, and this hadn’t really happened yet. We created a logo and put some thoughts together — and then played basketball for most of the rest of the summer. 🙂 The next year, eBay came out instead.
Given our coding skills at the time, it very likely never would have worked out anyhow, but we failed to even give it a shot. There are good ideas and there are unique ideas, and they only partially overlap.
But even if you have a good, unique idea, it won’t do much good to watch someone else build it and then sit back and tell your friends how you had thought of the same thing. If you want any credit for your amazing idea, you need to put in the effort to help bring it to life.