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Because people suck. That's why.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by $100T2, May 16, 2011.

  1. $100T2

    $100T2
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    Yeah, it's a bit early for the WDT, but I just gradumacizated (and don't have a job yet), so there you go.

    Anyway, I have an idea. No, I don't have a dream. I'm not MLKJR. I have an idea.

    However, like many of you, I have an idea without expertise. My idea needs a certain amount of expertise to become successful. If we were baking, which we're not, but let's assume we were, my expertise equals approximately 1 teaspoon, and the expertise needed is approximately 1 gallon.

    My idea could be worth $1. Or, it could be the next Harry Potter, and make untold millions.

    But I need expertise.

    I don't want to share my idea to gain the expertise needed, because I have come to believe that most people with the expertise needed would basically take my idea, claim it as their own, and I would be fucked.

    Why? Because I figure that if I share my idea, someone would take it and run with it, leaving me with nothing. Why?:

    Alternate-universe focus: Are you a computer programmer? An actor/actress? Creative? Wanna help me with my bitchin' idea?
     
  2. Nettdata

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    FYI, an idea isn't worth fuck all.

    The effective execution of that idea is where the money is.
     
  3. DrFrylock

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    Execution is a major discriminator between success and failure. Luck is another major discriminator. Ideas are also a discriminator, but probably the least important of the three by far. There have been a handful of historical ideas that were probably significant compared to the execution and luck aspects. But I can think of only a small handful. The Theory of Relativity. PageRank. A few others maybe.

    As for $100T2, I am in fact a computer programmer. And my expertise is certainly available to you. I will tell you that it is substantial; on your scale of teaspoons and gallons we're talking at least a carboy. And it is available at my standard consulting rate. Which is only slightly higher than what my current 9-to-5 employer bills my time out for. Your last name wouldn't happen to be ", LLP" would it? That would help...

    FOCUS: Is it all about execution, as Nett Daddy says? Or do ideas matter sometimes? Which ideas, historically, have mattered?

    ALT FOCUS: Browbeat $100T2 into revealing his super-secret idea to all of us. Because at least then it will entertain somebody.
     
  4. Nettdata

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    I always find it funny when people make me sign NDA's to talk about their ideas.

    Sure, there are a few ideas that, once you hear about them, make you go "woah!", and give you a new perspective on something. Those are very, very rare.

    The first one that comes to my mind is Hotmail. When it came out, the mere concept of being able to do email through a web page was revolutionary. If that idea had gotten out, someone else would have made it first.

    But still, I have no problems sharing my ideas with people, because really, the execution is where the money reward is. And if it's a new idea, that execution will take a lot of work, and dedication, and belief in the idea, in order for it to be done.

    That's also a main reason why I fucking can't stand software patents. You thought of something, wrote a 3 page paragraph on it, and now you should get a big hunk of cash when someone else actually builds something with it? Fuck that.

    Be the first to build it and implement it and have it working, and then you might have a leg to stand on.

    Otherwise, patent trolls can go fellate a shotgun.
     
  5. scootah

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    Honestly? PageRank as a concept is worthless without the exectution. The concept of pagerank itself isn't all that clever compared to the hassle of trying to make the fucking thing work on a scale sufficient to be valuable. I certainly recall sitting around in offices full of IT geeks talking about ways to make a search engine better before anyone we knew actually used google - and we had some awesome ideas. But none of us actually ever implemented those things worth a damn.

    I think execution covers more than just 'writing the code' or 'fabricating the widget' - it includes drawing the business plan, recruiting the technical resources, securing venture capital, and a bunch of other actually doing stuff. Even coherently pitching your idea to someone with skills or resources that you need to progress the implementation is part of implementation. And those things all matter a great deal - execution is all. Your ideas are worthless without it. Hell, even patenting your idea is execution that has worth.

    And I'm sure there are some very important ideas. But those ideas were all worthless until someone executed something around those ideas. And no matter how good your ideas are, they're worthless until you actually do something with them.

    As far as the OP... Everyone has an awesome idea. Shit I have a dozen. All of them require effort or dollars that I don't want to spend to make them worth something. God made NDA's and contract lawyers to let you share your ideas with an expert so that he can build it for you - but unless you're willing to pay for that expert's time - or unless you manage to execute the sale of your idea to an expert or a venture capitalist well enough to convince them to invest their valuable time or money into your idea - you're not going to get anyone to give fuck about your product, letalone sign an NDA before they can hear about it.

    The reality is that most experts have no real interest in stealing your idea. It's a huge gamble, it's unprofessional and craps all over your professional reputation, and most ideas from people without the expertise or the drive to acquire the skills to start the implementation themselves are crappy and without any practical worth. I wouldn't worry about people stealing it nearly as much as I'd worry about nobody ever caring.

    There were at least dozen open source, freely available perl and html based email in a browser services to bolt on to QMail or Mailer Daemon before hotmail. We pointed and laughed at Hotmail when they launched because it was a shitty version of what we were already offering at the ISP I was working at at the time. Who'd want a generic hotmail address when you could have an address @yourisp.com.au ! - needless to say, the ISP is long absorbed into a very different service and Hotmail makes more money in a day then that ISP made in it's lifetime. Nobody saw the idea as having any value as a free service before hotmail implemented it. And even then, most people scoffed at how hopeless an idea it was compared to real products with your own domain or a grown up amount of storage attached until Gmail came along and showed what a free service could really look like.

    +1
     
  6. DrFrylock

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    Google has had more than their share of key ideas that turned them into, well, Google. But by "more of their share," I mean 5-6. Which, it turns out, are a lot. PageRank was the first, and arguably most other search engines likely were better positioned than Google (in terms of computing power and infrastructure) to implement it. The fundamental idea that links are votes was critical.

    I also believe that the PageRank patent probably bought Google enough time to do (a good) execution of that idea. Recall that Yahoo! licensed Google's search results for quite a while. I have heard plausible rumors that they did not just implement a version of PageRank on their own in fear of the patent, and this likely gave Google a nice cash infusion when they didn't have other money coming in.

    Their ideas that allowed them to execute PageRank were to 1) build huge clusters from commodity hardware and use software to excise the dead and dying bits, of which there are many, and 2) concentrate on problems that can be transformed into MapReduce and BigTable on that cluster. Search being the primary example.

    The idea that probably kept them alive and turned them into the powerhouse they are was the AdWords model of selling advertising: text-based ads, keyword auctioning, fully automated with only a credit card required. That is now the money-printing machine that pays for everything else.

    Any one of those is a good idea, but synergistically they are dynamite. I think they got very fortunate that AdWords was the key idea in Internet advertising in the last 20 years, because otherwise I am not sure they would have had the cash flow to do many of the other things they did.
     
  7. scootah

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    I think the idea that differentiated Google from their competitors was 'Who gives a fuck about meta data? Why would we take search information that a webmaster has written and is clearly full of bias, when we could go find the infer the information from less biased sources instead? Or they applied evidence gathering principles from forensic science to web search. And that methodology was at the core of their product long before it was any kind of public knowledge.

    The list of things Yahoo have done wrong is too long to mention - but in the very early days of website design - when people were cramming their 'portals' full of crap and using landing pages with splash animations and insanely colourful crap everywhere (IE Myspace) - Google was doing something right - they were going minimalist and presenting a simple clean interface with black text and blue links. From the beginnings of HTTP adoption - simple and clean has worked better than crammed full of crap. Yahoo just couldn't see past jerkoffs with a fist full of coke and awesome ideas to see that the implemented solutions that were topping Alexa and all the traffic rankings, and maintaining their traffic share as competitors entered the market - were sites with a commonality - clean interfaces. And adding shit everywhere wasn't helping.

    Mass cost reduction through reduced cost hardware and distributed operations were a really good idea. But it wasn't realy Google's idea. That methodology was on the table for a lot of shit in the late 90's and early naughties. Google just made it work in major scale. They executed it with a finesse and refinement that nobody else came close to, and in a scale that nobody else was thinking in.

    I'm not sure that that's really a google idea either. In the late nineties, everything was ad funded. I knew a guy who built the third most popular everquest website - it was just a list of information for spell caster characters playing this one game - and he pulled millions of dollars out of the advertising for this. He came close to 10 million in profit before the bust ripped the value out of providing shit content for free and getting 10c per user impression. Google just had enough scale and enough volume to see that the add market still had value - and continued to refine their primary revenue source. The idea of just giving stuff away for advertising revenue was literally everywhere, and everyone was doing it. Google successfully ditched the middle man (not their idea either, lots of people tried to cut doubleclick and the other add providers out, but didn't have the size or scope to pull it off) and for the most part - stayed minimalist. The characteristic text only ads at adwords and the low price to advertisers and the consequent universal availability to content providers gave them a market position that no-one else had. But none of those things were Google coming up with an awesome idea - they were Google doing something that lots of people tried, but doing it very well where everyone else did it poorly.
     
  8. DrFrylock

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    You can debate where the idea ends and the execution finesse begins, but if you had been at any number of large tech companies in the contemporary period and I gave you the basic characteristics of AdWords, I am pretty sure you would have implemented something very similar to what Google came up with. The idea of selling ads to make money was certainly not new, but I can't recall anybody else focusing on text ads, with keywords sold by an ongoing online auction, accessible without talking to a human being, at that time.
     
  9. JoeCanada

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    [​IMG]

    Already been invented, sorry.

    What were you going to call it? They went with "Hot Dog Toaster."
     
  10. scootah

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    I was in one of the largest registrars and domain hosts in the world as a senior engineer through most of the key Google market establishment periods. I did consulting gigs both through that business and side gigs for several of Google's major competitors at the time in both advertising and search. I deployed the tech for projects to run automated advertisement slot auctions and to host and manage rotation of text only advertising - and decomissioned the same servers when they didn't make money because we didn't do nearly as good a job of implementation as google. And learned the valuable lesson of always getting cash and buying shares if the venture is successful enough to IPO - fuck getting paid in stock options.

    I had about 8 million very personal reasons to evaluate where everyone else went wrong - and why stock options are a shitty way to get paid for work in new technology ventures. If any of the ventures that I'd been involved with had ever actually managed to unfuck themselves, or even if I'd insisted in shares in the parent company instead of options in the new venture, I'd be on my yacht, or in a very expensive rehab clinic now - not arguing about this on the intarwebs. And in every case - Google's implementation was good in (usually a shitload of) ways that ours wasn't.
     
  11. Disgustipated

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    Easy, it's about both. Awesome idea but can't execute? Worthless. Awesome execution but no idea what to do? Wasted. As Einstein attributed quote goes, it's 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. But if you don't have both, you're kind of screwed.

    That being said, execution is hard and ideas are easy. Practical ideas are hard. Practical ideas that haven't been realised yet are the holy grail.

    I have tons of ideas, ranging from dumb to (to me) ingenious. Almost none of them have turned out to be practical. The few key important ones have turned out to be rather lucrative in that they managed to keep a couple of businesses afloat. But those ideas took a massive amount of hard work, planning and alteration to make them viable.
     
  12. xrayvision

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    It's also been invented. And it seems dangerous.
     

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  13. Rob4Broncos

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    Not as much as it already has.
     
  14. comforter

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    Exactly his point. "The idea of selling ads" is easy. Getting the execution right (text-only, keyword auction, no humans involved, market timing) is brutally hard. The devil is always in the details and the line between success and failure is very, very fine.
     
  15. Juice

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    I'm sure many people thought up a GUI-based operating system that werent Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, but who became the billionaires? All those guys or Steve Jobs and Bill Gates?

    This is part of the reason people (read: dumb people) are intrigued by informercials that encourage you to jump on the money train with some doofus who wants to share his wealth "secret" with you. You didn't have to think of it and you don't even have to figure it out, you'll be shown how. The truths behind these "ideas" are, you're not told the money making secret, you are the money making secret.
     
  16. BL1Y

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    I know a former owner of a fairly popular legal humor website who got pissed off at another website for ripping off his ideas. Those ideas were:

    Having polls and an advice column.

    I still don't understand how he thought these were revolutionary ideas. Of course, the guy was a writer and producer for Law and Order, so maybe in his world the threshold for brilliant, creative ideas is much lower.

    Being the first to have an idea, or even being the first to attempt to utilize it, is nothing compared to being the best at executing an idea.
     
  17. Nettdata

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    Yes and no. Sometimes, being first to market is everything, and can set you up for being bought out by those that follow you.

    Success can very much be varying amounts of first-to-market and best execution.
     
  18. BL1Y

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    That's true for things that are particularly sticky, where changing from the first system is difficult. Something like the VHS tape, introducing a second product is hard because the products aren't compatible, and it makes sense for new customers to buy whatever the person before them bought. Just look at how long it took to go from VHS to DVD, it took a huge leap in technology to overcome the stickiness.

    But, for concepts where stickiness doesn't matter, sometimes it's best to let someone else do the heavy lifting. Let McDonald's spend millions researching where to put its restaurants, and then you just build across the street.
     
  19. Nettdata

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    Do not underestimate the power of branding if you're the first to market with a solution.
     
  20. BL1Y

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    The diet universe is also a great example of the difference between inspiration and perspiration.

    The magical formula has been around since as long as the law of conservation of mass and energy: burn more calories than you consume.

    Knowing how to lose weight is 1% of the process, the other 99% is not stuffing your face and actually using your treadmill. You can refine the theory, figure out which foods help boost your metabolism, which exercises are more effective, but it's still 99% perspiration, despite how many people are just waiting for the one book that will make them thin just for having read it.


    Law works the same way for the most part. Most legal issues are not so complicated that a moderately intelligent law grad can't master them. A lot of really smart people have written treatises, law review articles, columns for newspaper, white papers, client alerts, a whole wealth of information you can obtain, often for free. You can then reproduce their skills, and hopefully their billing rates (forgetting for a moment actually being able to attract clients). The trouble is that reading all that stuff is a lot of work, and it's really boring, and if you don't have a passion for it, you're going to give up and play desktop tower defense or angry birds instead

    Definitely true in areas where you want to be hired to come up with new solutions. If I have a novel problem, I want to look for the person or company that's been routinely breaking new ground and coming up with innovative ideas. But, if I want a routine legal matter handled, I'd rather take the person who isn't the high-priced genius, but simply attended the high-priced genius's seminar and will charge me a lot less.