A VC and a Book: More Proof that Execution Matters

Back in July, I wrote a post about how broken windows can kill your business. Two weeks ago a book with a similar title came out. Did he steal my idea? problemably not. This is just more proof that ideas aren't unique. Execution is what matters. (Note: I did not intend to write a book on the topic. My single chapter for Morespace just about killed me)

Speaking of execution, I had the pleasure today of meeting with some people at Chrysalis Ventures, the biggest VC firm here in Louisville, to discuss peer production and wisdom of crowds. I wasn't pitching them on anything, it was just a session to chat and trade knowledge. It was quickly obvious that they were big on execution, as it came up several times in conversation.

The odd thing is this… The average Joe on the street is more concerned about ideas. People don't want to tell you their idea, they are afraid you will steal it from them, and they want 80% of the profit if you partner because it was their idea. The average VC, entrepreneur, or successful businessperson will almost always talk about execution over ideas. I think it's because people that haven't run a business rarely have an idea of how quickly and easily it can get away from you. Execution is tough. Conventional wisdom is wrong because conventional wisdom focuses on the "million dollar idea." So I'll re-iterate, for the 50th time on this blog, one of my favorite Warren Buffett sayings.

Conventional wisdom is often long on convention and short on wisdom.

Amen to that.

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  • The “broken windows” study has been circulating for years. So that “good idea” was around for a long time.

    By the way, a long time ago General Omar Bradley said something like “amateurs talk about strategy (big ideas), professional talk about logistics (implementation).” So he knew the value. And his saying may have roots dating back to Roman generals, for all I know.

  • A couple good quotes for you:
    Regarding Sharing an idea, “The only thing worse than a paranoid entrepreneur is a paranoid entrepreneur who talks to his dog. There is much more to gain-feedback, connections, opened doors-by freely discussing your idea than there is to lose. If simply discussing your idea makes it indefensible, you don’t have much of an idea in the first place.” – Guy Kawasaki

    As for Bradley, I like Adlai Stevenson better “In classical times when Cicero had finished speaking, the people said, ‘How well he spoke,’ but when Demosthenes had finished speaking, they said, ‘Let us march.'”

    Also, Rob, if you haven’t see it, check out the transcript from the Union Square Ventures session on peer production (or maybe that was your inspiration?) Alot of interesting thoughts. http://usv.jot.com/WikiHome/PublicWiki/Sessions