It’s common knowledge that “ideas are worthless”. An idea will bring you nowhere – you need implementation, focus, a good team, the right environment, luck, etc. And I won’t argue with that – obviously, an idea doesn’t bring you anywhere by itself. Just google for “ideas are worthless” and you can find dozens of convincing articles. Ideas change, ideas evolve, initial idea doesn’t matter.
But that’s the perspective of the businessman. A person whose interest is to make profit (nothing wrong with that, of course). Emphasizing the worthlessness of ideas brings a whole slew of startups that are there for the sake of being a startup. We’ll build something. We’ll figure it out along the way. Then they master the skills of fundraising, they focus on Lean, MVP, time-to-market, exit strategies, etc. etc. And that’s all great. Except that it’s not technology.
The perspective of a “hacker” is different. A hacker is thrilled by technology, he wants to be challenged. The ultimate point is not to have a startup, to get acquired, to make money. The ultimate point is to make something cool, something different, something technologically innovative.
I can have a dozen ideas per day. Things that may actually be turned into a startup. I know all of the above buzzwords, like Lean and MVP, so probably I can turn them into some sort of company. Do I do that? No. And not because I’m afraid not to have a stable income or wasting a couple thousand bucks. I don’t do that just because I’m not convinced they are cool, technological and challenging enough.
Probably, that’s the difference between great startups and mediocre ones. Not between successful and failed, because even mediocre ones can be “successful”, in terms of some revenue, some investment, being acquired. But between game-changers and the rest.
Yes, your ideas may be worthless, if they are worthless to you. If your idea is motivating you by itself, rather than by making you envision the success of the future company (i.e. “fall in love with the process, not with the end result”), then it’s the most important thing. Not for “success”, but for your experience.
So I’d choose carefully how to invest my time. I may be more valuable to the world and to myself by doing my job for an existing company, than by starting a new company for the sake of starting a company. Ideas are what’s important for us.