Through TeamCamp we have found that everyone has ideas and the real challenge lies far less with the idea and far more with the execution. The first big challenge in pitching your idea is to find someone else that wants to work on it because everyone has their own ideas.
The next and more significant challenge is how to make the idea work. Basically ideas are realized by execution and the devil is indeed in the detail. The idea for Twegather was hatched on June 18th we had about 20 people break up into small groups of 4 people to come up with the idea. At the end of that two hour session we had tons of great ideas: locked, loaded and ready to go. The idea phase of Twegather took about two hours plus or minus an hour.
The execution phase of Twegather is still a work in progress and it is now 17-Nov-2009 almost 5 months later. Plenty has been accomplished in that time; team formed, alpha product, beta product and demo camp launch with each of these being a baby step. This is a rough approximation of time based on 4 people 2 hours per week meeting, 20 hours per week development time, adding to the team 5 people 2 hours per week plus 4 hours community management per week for a total of 800 hours on execution with still many baby steps to go. Therefore the rough ratio of execution: idea is 400:1 and that is only going to increase. . TheCodeFactory idea was born in April 2007 (I remember waking up with the idea in a bit of a eureka moment) and the facility opened in May of 2008. It is now November 2009 and we have been in business 18 months. To get the idea took a couple of hours ... lets stretch it and say four hours. From 2007 to 2008 I probably spent 1,000 – 2,000 hours; after opening it is 60 – 80 hour work weeks lets round to 70 hours per week. Therefore total time spent on idea is 4 hours and execution 6,000 hours. That gives a ratio of 1,500 : 1 execution : idea. As you move forward the idea morphs and evolves which is a natural outcome of execution and the ratio only increases.
The point of all this is that ideas are easy. Making them work very hard. To make an idea work you need to start with the first step. A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step and the building of an idea is the same. To get to where you want to be pick small achieve able goals or milestones also known as baby steps. The greatest idea needs lots of baby steps. Vision is easy, realizing it very difficult.
The real difference between dreamers who just dream and visionaries who build is the later actually take baby steps (and lots of them) toward building the idea.
- Ian Graham