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TIMO ZIMMERMANN

balancing software engineering & infosec

When People Tell You Your Idea Sucks Ignore Them

posted on Saturday 31st of March 2012 in ,

One of the most common advices you receive is that you should carefully
evaluate your idea before you start working on it. Sometimes you would
be better off ignoring those suggestions. Let me tell you why.

We live in 2012. New ideas and start ups pop up every day, every hour,
eventually every minute. Some of them have potential, some of them are
just plain stupid and some of them are great from the beginning. More
and more people start a business with a crazy idea or just a dead simple
one where most people ask themselves why they did not come up with that.

One thing nearly all founders, entrepreneurs, small, medium, non business
owners have in common is that they will start blogging at some point
giving advices how everyone with an idea can start a successful business.
There is an advice I read fairly often and just hate. “Evaluate your idea
really carefully.”

Before I start just let me say one thing: If you cannot afford food, do not
know how to pay your rent and are nearly dead since you cannot buy flu
medicine since five months I suggest you listen to them. For the rest of
you consider the following points.

Even If You Fail Badly You Will Win

In the end you created something. You definitely gained some new skills and
learned a lot of different things. If you did not I can tell you what
and when your business went downhill.

Even if you fail, you are in a better position for another company or
your next job. Learning new skills is always winning.

Make Noise

Imagine you start a website that lets people compare other people with
cows. Of course you are posting it to all relevant sites and wait for the
big boom. But nothing happens. Some people click on your link, some
upload a picture or two but no one really cares. You failed, right?

You have proven that you are able to build something like PeopleCowCompare.
Back when Zuckerberg started working on Facebook he once had a similar idea.
If he would have been looking for a co-founder or some engenier to help
him grow the company would he contact people who created PaintMyPony or
PeopleCowCompare? (year I know that the example sucks, if you have a
better one feel free to add it in the comments)

The only thing you have to remember is that you have to make enough
noise and make sure people remember your site or idea. Even if it sucks and
no one is using it, they have to remember it.

Evolution

Once upon a time someone wanted to build a dating site. Instead of yet
another useless site they got YouTube. End of the story.

You never know what evolves from your initial idea. And you cannot plan
or draft it on your white board and present every possible option to
everyone you are asking. Sometimes stuff just happens.

From my point of view there was no need for a dating site and I would have
told them that their idea sucks and to invest time and money in something
different. I could have killed YouTube if they would have asked me.

If You Love Your Idea – Do It

It is really that easy. If you can afford it and love your idea just start
working on your project or business. What can you lose? Some weekends?
$20 for a server and a domain? Maybe $30 because you tried to get
some hits with adwords? Mankind will end!

The most important thing is that you believe your idea is worth the time
you will invest. If you are wrong, just be happy that you have actually build
something instead of whining how bad every new idea is. Criticizing ideas
and projects is way easier than creating stuff – that is the reason why
most people prefer to do the one over the other.

You gained new skills, you eventually created new opportunities, you added
something to your CV. Just be happy and go on. World will not end, people
do not think you are an idiot or loser and terrorists will not win just
because you are one of the people that tried something and did not
(immediately) succeed.