It’s long been thought that a great idea can make you rich, self-actualized, a hero, or worthy of praise.
This notion is constantly reinforced in movies, TV and the news. Symptoms of a scarce, competitive worldview that permeates much of society.
Here at Make More Marbles, I’m always striving to find actionable ideas and strategies for living in abundance.
“Great ideas” are all the rage nowadays. We laud and praise people who come up with the “next big thing”.
Well, as it turns out, ideas might be the enemy… keeping you trapped in the ordinary world. To truly evolve and make a breakthrough, you have to let go of your ideas.
Now I know what you’re thinking… “Why would I give away an idea that could make me all the millions of dollarsssss? or “I love my ideas, they’re my preciousssss.”
Well, I’m here to tell you that ideas can be the enemy of the successful entrepreneur.
Ideas are rarely the be and end all, or what makes a venture successful. What’s important to any successful venture is the execution, the failures, and the iterations. Rarely does the original idea ever make it past the beginning phases of a project.
How Ideas Become The Enemy
The basic breakdown looks like this:
- Entrepreneur has an “AMAZE BALLS IDEA” for a product or service.
- Entrepreneur tells no one, slowly festering the idea in their head, absorbing their time, energy and attention.
- Entrepreneur does everything except validate the idea to see if it works, wasting time and money.
- Entrepreneur launches non economically viable idea to the sound of crickets, licks wounds, repeats.
- Entrepreneur continues to give up at a critical moments, and never really understands the process, or what went wrong.
- Entrepreneur stays a “wantrepreneur”, never really making that breakthrough, and often regretting it for the rest of their lives, indulging in cynicism, negativity and self loathing.
What I’m saying: Give away your best ideas. ESPECIALLY if you don’t have the skills to execute AND they are a distraction from the goals you should be working toward.
An idea IN THE RIGHT HANDS could make millions.
TO THE RIGHT PERSON, a great idea could be a huge win.
What’s more, is we can all work on them together, in the spirit of the open source movement. You don’t have to hoard or grab for the marbles that are already there, you can always simply make more marbles.
The RIGHT IDEA given to the RIGHT PERSON at the RIGHT MOMENT could create a relationship that stands the test of time.
I’m not saying to give away every idea. Ideas that serve your purpose and move you closer to your goals, or are something you will work toward and achieve are useful.
What's In An Idea, Anyway?
There are no new ideas, and you don’t own them. You are just a conduit, one focal point of many in an infinitely creative universe, who takes things they learn and dutifully makes them a reality. Genius and “man out of time” Nikola Tesla understood this well, as evidenced in the these quotes, in which he talks about abundant thinking, ideas, and a basic “love of the game”.
“I don't care that they stole my idea . . I care that they don't have any of their own”
“The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.”
“I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success . . . Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything.”
“My brain is only a receiver, in the Universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength and inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know that it exists.”
Elon Musk is following in his footsteps today. Not only by making many of his patents a commercially viable reality, but allowing his own Tesla Motors patents to be copied in good faith.
Both of these men are inseparably linked in history. They both understand the importance of abundant thinking and getting to the answer fastest for the sake of mankind. They realize things like patents, NDA’s and frivolous lawsuits only slow the progress of humanity.
I believe the “core” that Tesla alludes to is simply the collective consciousness. That’s everyone, everywhere, existing together. We are all a part of it, as is all energy and matter, which flows freely into and out of everything. We are all a part of a giant sandbox, and what we build may live on, but only in the collective consciousness. You don’t get to take anything with you to the next phase of existence, whatever might come next. You don’t own people, money, ideas, or anything else. You just are. But that is enough. You can change and influence the universe with just that.
Altruism is not a foolish strategy in today’s age. You can be the one to change the course of human events with the right idea, if you put it in the right hands. You can build a tribe that will sustain you forever for the price of some good ideas, presented logically and clearly. Even LifeHacker did a great piece with some good tips on how to give away ideas in the right way.
Don’t get bogged down by the insidious ones. Ideas that are solid, but require something that you don’t have (or can’t easily come by), or are outside the scope of your skillset. Ideas that may not even pan out if you worked on them. And ESPECIALLY don't waste time on ideas that don't actually solve a problem people are willing to pay for, and therefore are not commercially viable.
Here's a Personal Example:
Wes of 3D Orthotics and I discussing the technology behind 3D printed Insoles. You can see me get my feet scanned and a demonstration of the technology in action in the video.
Back in October of 2013, Wes and I had a conversation and a series of emails in which I laid out my idea for a 3D printed line of custom footwear. Cool idea, like a custom Amazon store for your feet. Basically you get your feet scanned once, then we print a perfect fit, every single time, and ship the shoes to your door. No more shopping, waiting in line, compromising on style or fit, not having the right size in stock, etc.
You could build a scanned database of people’s feet, which you could use to produce shoes, or you could easily license that list to a variety of shoe manufacturers or drop-ship custom shoes overnight. I’ve been a huge proponent of 3D printing for years, having made my name in investing on the huge wins in the names, $DDD and $ONVO especially, as well as having the honor the be the first person to discuss the technology with Sir Richard Branson. I even had the opportunity write a breakthrough article in Forbes about the subject, which has been read over 200,000 times. As it wasn't my column, I had to fit it neatly into the “shipping” category for that to work, but I stand by my decision as it gave me a platform to talk about the technology in its entirety, which was very important to help get the word out. All in all, a very successful endeavor.
That does NOT make me a visionary expert that will revolutionize the shoe industry. Nor do I particularly care to be.
What’s more, is I have a “potentially billion dollar idea” every other week. That doesn’t mean I need to constantly leave the present moment (where I’m quite at peace, I might add) and layer on another new level of challenge, an action potential of disappointment in my otherwise great life. I don’t need to satisfy every whim and jump down every rabbit hole, frantically running from one thing to the next.
Sure, I had this shoe idea. Which I still think will exist in the future, but isn’t really economically viable yet. Also, I have hedge funds to manage, and blog posts to write, so maybe not the best thing to focus on until things progress.
Since 3D printing is still in its infancy, the technology to create such products was too expensive and not really capable of producing the level of quality that would yet compete with injection molding and sewing for the price. The idea was intriguing, so I decided to give it away. My friend Ajay linked me up with Wes, who was a serial entrepreneur looking for his next venture. I laid out the whole idea for him.
Quickly realizing that the whole thing wasn't ready to pop yet, Wes started to research other avenues. The tech wasn’t there yet, so he niched down and found that Orthotic insoles was an industry ripe for disruption, with a lot of money being paid for custom foot molded orthotics, which could be done better for cheaper using a 3D Printer. Now, only 8 months later, Wes has a company launched which is on its way to dominating the space, with incredible growth potential for the future.
So what did I do? Did I make Wes sign an NDA or worry about him “stealing my great idea”?
HELL NO. In fact, I was grateful for the opportunity to see my idea come to life. I didn’t ask for anything in return. I didn’t really contribute much, except for a spark of inspiration. I DID however get to make the world a bit better, and certainly send Wes off in a new direction that might be extremely lucrative for him, and help a lot of people with podiatric issues in the process. I’ve helped to enhance Wes' experience of the world, and through his actions, countless others. I can remember bartending on my feet for 12 hour shifts and how much pain that a good pair of orthotic insoles could alleviate. I can remember being so broke that I begged the doctor to cut me a cash deal so I could afford them. I still have them. Now I'm getting one of the first pairs of custom orthotics ever made with a 3D printer, all because I opened my mouth. How cool is that?
There is no stopping an idea whose time has come.
We’re good at what we’re good at. We only have so many hours in the day, and even fewer productive ones. If you want to enjoy your life and help to enrich others, I’m saying to start giving away your best ideas, if they don’t serve you. Let them go out into the world, like a seed off a flower, to catch the wind, taking root where they can actually grow. The world needs more of them to be executed, which is part of the reason I started this blog. Let’s not grab for all the marbles, win the battle (personal fame, recognition, money) but lose the war (better technology and resource allocation, more abundant future for humanity, a sense of contribution and gratitude). If you only are out for yourself, you may find in the wee hours that you feel quite empty, indeed.
You want credit, I get that. You want to be that guy/gal that did that thing. Well, you can be, if you’re willing to put in the hours. But that NEED to be right/validated/feel important, that’s your ego talking, which you must first dance with before you can ultimately master. There is infinite abundance, and a million ways to make a million dollars. If you know what I’m saying, and you only will if you’ve been there and back, give me a shout out in the comments.
Do you have an example of a great idea you away in the spirit of abundance? Or an idea you had that you then saw executed by someone else? How did it make you feel? Share it below in the comments. I’ll pick the best ones for a shout out, or maybe a follow up post.
Who knows? You might just change the world.