Earlier today a former coworker
emailed me and asked me to critique his product idea. Here is a lightly edited
snippet from the message I sent in response:
I don't know squat about whether you could actually sell
this, but here are my two cents: Some products ideas fall into a category
I call "Just Do It". This is probably one of them. It
sounds kind of cool. It's not going to be all that difficult to
implement. You have the time to spend on it. Basically, there isn't
enough risk here to worry about. You could spend a lot of time trying to
figure out if this idea is any good, and at the end, you wouldn't really know.
Alternatively, you could spend the same amount of time implementing this idea,
after which you will have the opportunity to really find out if it's any good.
Lots of small ISV ideas don't fit this philosophy, but I bet
this one does.
Sorry if I sound too preachy, but you've struck a favorite
chord of mine. I think there is a lot to be said for smaller ideas.
Try it. If it fails, get another small idea and try that one.
I'd bet the odds of success with ten small ideas are a LOT
better than the odds of success with one idea that is ten times bigger.
I am tempted to write a full
blown article on this topic. But then I would have to think about how to
structure the article. And then I would have to find several examples and
stories to illustrate the point. And then I would have to think of all the
situations where my point is wrong (like when you have VC funding) and
acknowledge and explain each one. And then I would read the article and
realize it's boring so I would have to try to figure out some way to make it
funny and would probably end up restructuring the whole thing. And then I
would have to spend a few hours reviewing the essay to make sure all the
transitions work. And then I would have to spend a couple hours looking for
places where a hyperlink to other sources would be appropriate. I then I would
have to spend twenty minutes looking for a place to gratuitously insert a link
to the IMDB page for Dead Poets
Society. And then I would have to spend a day proofreading.
Bottom line: I would spend two
weeks of careful prudence to write an article which says little more than "carpe
That would be just so wrong.