A few years ago, deep in my “I love Bill Cunningham” phase, I pitched a CycleLove x Vulpine French Worker’s jacket to my friend Nick, who runs a cycling clothing brand called Vulpine.
He told me VIA AN ALL CAPS EMAIL RESPONSE that CycleLove was too small to collaborate with, and said I should focus on other untapped areas of the cycling market other than clothing. (Which was good advice).
Guess what product Vulpine launched this month?
Yup. A lovely blue French Worker’s jacket.
After feeling mad for all of five minutes, I realised that Vulpine didn’t steal my idea…
… they’d just had the same one.
In fact there are hundreds, possibly thousands of riffs on the French Worker’s jacket already out there, swirling around the ether. That’s how fashion works, right?
Ideas aren’t precious.
It’s funny that people are so protective of their ideas.
Like—seriously—you want me to sign an NDA before telling me your idea?
You don’t think someone’s had that idea before?
You don’t think ten people have dreamt up the exact same thing?
After signing a few NDAs in my time, I can tell you exactly how many of them protected a radically different idea…. none.
So trust me… your idea isn’t as precious as you think. It’s taking action that’s the rarity.
I know first hand, because I never finish anyth–. (And I’m haunted by this blog post whenever I get stuck, haha!)
Don’t let your ideas hold you hostage. There’s nothing special about them whilst they’re inside your head.
The real work begins when you sit down to convert your thoughts into something tangible.
On which note, there’s nothing special about this article either. It’s been written before, and much more effectively at that, by Derek Sivers:
“To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.”
Which he went on to explain with this series of calculations…
|AWFUL IDEA||= -1|
|WEAK IDEA||= 1|
|SO-SO IDEA||= 5|
|GOOD IDEA||= 10|
|GREAT IDEA||= 15|
|BRILLIANT IDEA||= 20|
|NO EXECUTION||= $1|
|WEAK EXECUTION||= $1000|
|SO-SO EXECUTION||= $10,000|
|GOOD EXECUTION||= $100,000|
|GREAT EXECUTION||= $1,000,000|
|BRILLIANT EXECUTION||= $10,000,000|
No doubt you’ve had people moan to you that someone “stole” their idea before.
But as the numbers above demonstrate, there’s no value to be had from an idea on its own.
Ideas are not special snowflakes.
It’s always snowing in your brain.
So stop day-dreaming, and build a snowman already.
Posted to life in 2017.