How To, Startups

The Secret Sauce

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The Secret Sauce

Hello and welcome to 2013 – its going to be a great year!

As always there is no shortage of new and exciting projects, innovations and ideas…it really is very exciting but I wanted to let you in on a secret….

…I’m becoming a little disenchanted with ideas.

So if you’ve known me for more than 15 minutes, you’ll probably say “Yes, that Andrew fella – he’s an ‘ideas guy'” – its literally a life long descriptor that was hung around my neck when I was still grabbing Crayola off the kid next to me…

But in a book I read recently – the author described ideas as “mental flatulence”….that concept stuck with me.

Why?

Well, because we all have ideas and many of us have great ideas… and how many of us see a new product, concept, service or whatever and at one time or another have said

“Dammit, I thought of that x years ago…I should have done something with that idea….”

And that’s the rub. “Yes – you should have!” and “Why the hell didn’t you?”

And the reason why that idea exists in the real world, is adding value to people’s lives and potentially making the inventor money is because they not only HAD the idea but – and this is the difficult part – they DID something with the idea.

They turned off the TV, put down that magazine, logged out of Hulu, Twitter and Facebook all at the same time….and they did something with that wonderful idea. Good on them!

Now that, in itself, is critical but lets back up and consider entrepreneurs and founders.

How many entrepreneurs have NOT got their ideas brought to life because they are too concerned about securing their “Idea” and making sure no one steals it?

The answer is “that number too many”….

They literally stop themselves from engaging with others, from discussing their idea, from putting it out into the world because they think their idea has enormous value.

Now I’m not a “wish for something and it will happen” kind of person – I believe you have to get out there and meet and greet and throw things around with as many people as possible – that’s not only how things happen but how they get better…you HAVE to engage others (but go with you gut as far as ‘who’)

And as someone who has been at the center of the largest Intellectual property court case in Virginia State history – I can tell you that the idea itself is not where the value is – that’s why you can’t patent ‘ideas’…

So where is the value and how can you protect it?

The value is in your ability to make that idea real. Simple isn’t it – well, no, there’s quite a few steps between idea and real product people buy….but still, its your ability to take that idea and make it real.

And here’s another wake up call – the same ideas are floating around and have been for years.

You may have had that ‘A ha’ moment but sorry to say, so have a number of other people before you, at the same time as you and after you – guaranteed.

BUT – do they do anything with it? Probably not….

Will how they translate and interprete that idea be the same as you even if they do execute on it…No. Another Guarantee.

You are the secret sauce that will make any idea you execute unique (if you don’t copy someone else, of course…)

That last sentence is worth reading again….(even if I do say so….:)

And how can you protect your idea – well, we spent WAY upwards of $2M on legal fees to protect our intellectual property – do you have that kind of money?

Most people don’t – the best way to protect and idea is, in my no legal opinion (insert all usual disclaimers *here*), the best way for an entrepreneur to protect their idea is to get it in the hands of as many paying customers as possible, as quickly as possible…

…speed to market people, not lawyers….   

So – and this is beginning to sound like a 12 step program……”Yes, my name’s Andrew and I am an ideas person. Guilty!”

But in 2013 I’m going to take all that mental flatulence of mine and pick the ones I want to pursue and uniquely bring them to market.

Now notice I didn’t say – “Pick the winners and bring them to market…”

Why?

1) You wait for the winning ideas to make themselves known and you’ll be waiting on your death bed…

2) Some of my most profitable ideas looked ‘So so’ in the beginning and it was only after talking to potential customer did they metamorphosis into great products or services.

3) Seriously – fast go to market of a good idea is worth so much more than never going to market because you want a slam dunk winning idea

My latest idea has already moved from ‘idea’ to project – and it’s focused on working with some of the best Restaurant owners and Chefs in some fantastic Restaurants around the United States. Will tell you more when I’m ready to launch it…and no, not because I’m afraid the idea will be stolen – its not a unique idea, in fact its one of the oldest ideas there is…(hint hint) (and last point…successful ideas do not HAVE to be unique…we can go into that in the next post if you want – let me know if so…).

The reason why I’d like to keep it under wraps for now is as it involves these fantastic restaurant owners – I’d like to get their OK before going into more detail.

So – lets make 2013 the year of taking mental flatulence and turning it into real things that add value to people’s lives (including yours!).

Let me know if you agree or you think I’m full of crap (and yes I probably am but that’s not the point is it… :) )

All the best to you and yours.

Good health

Andrew

Your Comments

1 comment

  1. Hi Andrew, I like your post (and agree with it). My photography teacher way back used to say that idea by itself is nothing. I personally think that idea “shelf life” is about 7 days, after this you forget about it unless you do something with it.
    Also, your restaurant project sounds interesting. Would love to hear more about it!
    Masha


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