Ideas are like piles, sooner or later every a**ehole gets them

man fixing steam pump

Ideas are just a starting point. The real trick is taking an idea and making it happen as well as possible. Derek Sivers defines ideas as a multiplier and I think that’s a useful way to look at it. He even gives some definition to the values with a so-so idea worth half as much as a good idea and that in turn being worth half a brilliant idea.

The real trick is the execution. That’s the tough part. You can’t phone in execution from your hammock in Bimini despite what Tim Ferriss might tell you, at least I’m not convinced. Execution is the perspiration generating part of the job and ultimately it is what makes things happen.

This is clear if we’re thinking about a business idea but I think this is a useful model to apply to any aspirations we may have. Writing a song is more than plucking an idea from the bosom of Euterpe.
To start with the idea needs to be captured somehow, written down on paper, sung into your cellphone or tended in your memory until it can be preserved somewhere. Then the execution can really begin. The idea needs to be developed unless you’re lucky enough to have dreamed up a complete work, melody, lyrics, chorus, bridge etc.

Sure a great idea can make a song better, but a rubbish arrangement will kill it stone dead for sure. Value good ideas but recognise them for what they are, a starting point and value the execution.

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Ruben Kenig

I used to play punk, then jazz. Somehow I went to music school to study composition. I wrote music and made sound design for theatre and studied film music. In the interstitial spaces of this I made websites as a content manager and project manager. I sometimes publish articles at rubken.net.

  • andrewmort

    i really like the song analogy. I had read Derek's post and this really put it into perspective (giving a good reference point!) The fact that a song is essentially an idea is cool – the real hard work comes when trying to turn that idea into something that sounds great and then something that people want to listen to and tell people about. Also gives an indication as to how poor songs/artists get so far, because they are moulded by masterful executioners. Sometimes, i have found an idea (song) has taken years to fully develop – they are things that can't be forced or rushed, rather nurtured and wrestled with until the time is right to unleash them on the world! I don't know if you know what I mean.

  • I do know what you mean Andy. There have been lots of things that I wrestle with for ages before I can call them fit for human consumption.
    One of the things I took from Derek's post was to try not to worry too much about the individual ideas. If one doesn't work that's OK I'll find another one, but all the time I'm trying I'm working on my execution. The main thing is to keep going and to take at least some ideas through to their conclusion. That way we can judge the idea and the execution and try to do it better next time.

  • i really like the song analogy. I had read Derek's post and this really put it into perspective (giving a good reference point!) The fact that a song is essentially an idea is cool – the real hard work comes when trying to turn that idea into something that sounds great and then something that people want to listen to and tell people about. Also gives an indication as to how poor songs/artists get so far, because they are moulded by masterful executioners. Sometimes, i have found an idea (song) has taken years to fully develop – they are things that can't be forced or rushed, rather nurtured and wrestled with until the time is right to unleash them on the world! I don't know if you know what I mean.

  • I do know what you mean Andy. There have been lots of things that I wrestle with for ages before I can call them fit for human consumption.
    One of the things I took from Derek's post was to try not to worry too much about the individual ideas. If one doesn't work that's OK I'll find another one, but all the time I'm trying I'm working on my execution. The main thing is to keep going and to take at least some ideas through to their conclusion. That way we can judge the idea and the execution and try to do it better next time.