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Just as people who don't succeed sometimes blame other people, or begrudge other's their success, people who succeed sometimes assign themselves too much credit, or don't give less successful people their due. Sometimes the difference between someone who succeeds with an idea, and someone who fails with a similar idea is best attributed to luck. Some people are willing to admit that, far too many others try to deny the role of fate. They talk about the importance of execution, or the team. It's true, those things can make a difference, but they are rarely enough. If pressed, they'll admit that timing might have been the difference between success and failure, but then gloss over the fact that good timing probably had at least as much to do with luck as hard work or excellent execution. I know I'm right about this too, because when it comes down to it, even people who make it their business to identify who the winning startups will be get it wrong most of the time, and even when some of them get it right and pick a winner, chances are someone else passed on that winner. The other thing successful people do is underestimate the importance of their earlier success in their later success. I think Viix is right on the money, however well the Stack Overflow team executed, your baby would have had a harder time making its way in this world without plugging in to the community you an Soplolsy have built in your earlier endeavors. None of this is to begrudge you your success, but don't think your success makes you an expert on either success or failure. For what it is worth, Marc Adreessen (you may have heard of him) has a different view on all of this. He divides success factors into product, team and market (http://pmarchive.com/guide_to_startups_part4). What matters most of all is the market. A mediocre product in an exploding market is going to be a bigger financial success than a great product in a mediocre market. For a given market, then what matters is product/market fit. Team and execution matter here, because you need the product, and you need to keep tweaking it to get the fit right. So where are ideas in all of this? Andreessen doesn't talk about them specifically, but I think ideas matter a lot in his formulation, because I think the idea can encompass both identifying the market and the product that fits it. You still have to build the product, but if you've got a good idea, then you are building the right product for the right market, and there is no substitute for that. Being able to learn and course correct is important, but heading in roughly right direction in the first place can give a big head start.
Commented Feb 16, 2010 on
Cultivate Teams, Not Ideas
Cultivate Teams, Not Ideas
How much is a good idea worth? According to Derek Sivers, not much: It's so funny when I hear people being so protective of ideas. (People who want me to sign an NDA to tell me the simplest idea.) To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth m...
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