Execution is everything. Ideas are nothing.

ID 10070171 Well, okay, an idea may be worth EUR 0.01, or $0.01. Given the EURUSD swings, it is hard to say with precision but it is sure not that much. Everyone has ideas. I’ve got a ton of ideas. My wife has truckloads of ideas. Great ideas, workable ideas, ideas that could be planned, ideas that could generate a lot of money, ideas that could change the world. Yeah. Great. Awesome.

But not worth much if not executed.

I’d already be a billionaire if I got paid based on how many ideas I can generate. But that’s not what counts. Just consider that an idea is worth zilch, zero, nada. You’ll be better off. You’ll be able to focus on the ideas that do matter to you. And then maybe execute them. But then, they shouldn’t be ideas.

They should be opportunities.

ID 10048934 An opportunity is something that has the potential to accrue value at a point in time. Once the opportunity is identified, now you have better chance on shaping something called “a business.” Until then, that’s just a bunch of ideas in la-la-land.

Now, here comes the hard part.

ID 10057422 You know the 99% chunk full of perspiration, the endless nights of rework, the moments when you just hate yourself for having embarked on that damn execution of your idea. The risk containment you’ll face, the cash-flow nightmares, the hard decisions. Because that’s a completely different territory over here. At the small scale, just something as this newsletter issue has to move from the idea down to the opportunity and then to the execution where it gets materialized. Things are going through your brain when you do this. In fact when you do anything. Things like asking yourself about what to write, about how to shape it. And getting it out of the door in due time (I’ve not always been stellar on this but if you stop after having missed the boat once, I can tell you that you’ll get stranded very fast!). Execution makes one face the harsh realities of a limited world that works in its own way. Ideas don’t face that. That’s why they aren’t that worth much if not executed. You know this guy, Steve Jobs? People call him “a genius.” Sure.

A genius in transforming ideas into finished, brilliant products.

Watch a bit of all of this in this video of Jobs and team at NeXT. I am typing this on a MacBook Pro, and switched my interest on OSX/iOS and Open Source away from Windows technology when it comes to software development. It is just better. Better in style, better in experience, developer of otherwise. Look in the video when he says that psychological and market realities are more important than what *he* wants. Windows has its space in the corporate environment, sure. But for innovative work, that’s not going to happen there. There are just too many internal turf wars inside Microsoft. It shows outside. And I don’t like what I see.

I vote with my attention.

Windows now is running inside a VM on the OSX box. As a subsystem. Ever remember Silverlight? It’s dead. .NET? Given the push on Windows 8 and tablets and WinRT, well, you just got the rug taken from under your feet. Again. Like with VS6, MFC, and ATL. No problem per se with .NET. Just that I am not going to commit my attention on that. I do have perfect partners for taking care of that should you need it (let’s get in touch if you need some BTW). Interestingly, earlier this week, I’ve been involved as an expert at the Microsoft Innovation Center in Mons for the Boostcamp initiative. I spent a while with two aspiring entrepreneurs with interesting ideas. We chitchatted about their project and I helped them with new angles and views, and some technological options that they could leverage. I wish them the best.

They are about to decide if they are going to cross the Rubicon.

In fact, they have their idea, materialized it somewhat. And now, they’ll have to decide if they commit to the execution. It is no wonder to me that they key word here is “execution.” There is a risk of getting a solid chunk of your assets killed in the process. Are you ready to take the plunge on the execution? If you are, I hope you are able to ask for help when you’ll need it. Because nobody has all the answers when it comes to execution. Before this rant runs for too long, let’s just remember what Aristotle said:
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
As a consequence, extraordinary execution (and products/services/results coming out of such an execution) are merely the side effects of good habits. Habits of taking the high road and getting things done. What are you repeatedly doing? --Philippe       Images courtesy of http://www.freedigitalphotos.net