Ideas do matter

I have met many VC’s, listened to many more them in conferences, read even more of VC blogs, one theme that I have seen recurr without fail is the talk of “Ideas do not matter, execution does”.  While I don’t deny that execution matters, it matters a hell a lot but Ideas do matter as well, I find that those that undermine ideas may not have a complete understanding of the economics of an idea :). Atanu dey has a brilliant post in which he discusses the economics of ideas. He explains the economics to drive a different point altogether but nonetheless the argumen are the same everywhere.
Here is also what umair thinks about idea vs execution.

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5 thoughts on “Ideas do matter

  1. How will a good execution help if there is no idea?

    I have worked with many software product startups, some from day zero others whenever they needed help. I also talk with atleast one promising startup CEOs almost every week. The common thing with all software product startups is a solid core idea–whether original or not-so-original.

    Another striking similarity is to get the idea to a good execution. Most startups are struggling to get the idea to materialize, but most know that good execution is a key to success.

    There is another interesting thing that you see with many new startups now is the way they meticulously plan their marketing and sales. This is new to me–earlier startups never thought about it and in my opinion they really failed there.

    Some of the most promising starups in Hyderabad of yesteryears have failed there–they had a great idea, excellent execution, but clearly no thought about marketing and sales. They appoint technology people to sell–whow!

    I see these 5 things as core to success in a software product startup:
    1. A good idea and a team that believes in the idea
    2. Excellent techical and usability team
    3. Carefully planned execution of the idea–there are no shortcuts there
    4. A key sales and marketing person from the market that matters for product sales. Example: If the products’ main market is US, find a good American marketing and sales head. Appointing technical people for sales may bring DOOM!
    5. Plan the sales and marketing strategy in absolute detail.

    – Ripul

  2. Hi Ripul,

    You have a very good point on the marketing & sales. It reminds of the quote that made in Eliyahu Goldratt’s book called “Goal” where he states that a business goal should be to make “sales” ( well of course we add social welfare etc to this ).

    So marketing & sales are one of the key thing that many ( atleast technology) company fail to give importance to.

    Cheers,
    Rajan

  3. Very true Rajan,

    Most technology companies fail to give any importance to sales and marketing. They need to understand and learn this from FMCG companies. We see if technology companies have key executives from FMCG companies, they have good focus on marketing and sales.

    Another thing that we see in technology startups is that the focus is on technology alone. The key point is that “technology supports business” and if any new technology does not support any kind of business activity–it is doomed for failure–there is no use of it.

    So, technology for technology sake is not any good for business. Technology for business applications is good. Technology companies need to find good business applications of the proposed technology.

    A motor is of no use if its not employed for use in fans, washing machines, cranes, etc.

    Taking this point even further (due to obvious reasons due to unfold in the next sentence!), a washing machine is of no use if the potential users dont wear clothes. Understanding users is a very critical part of technology success.

    In all there are three points for all technology companies:
    1. Give equal importance to marketing and sales
    2. Technology serves business and any new technology must have business applications
    3. Good business applications need deep understanding about their users

    Cheers,
    – Ripul

  4. Hi Anil,

    I am not sure why you want to send me a demo, I am no VC. Nonetheless I am always interested in finding about new ideas 🙂

    Rajan

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