This Is Where Brilliant Startup Ideas Go To Die

Here’s a story I see repeated a lot with promising startups

Joe Procopio

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A startup idea isn’t worth anything.

It’s the execution that matters.

But sometimes, the execution isn’t worth anything either.

And that needs to be fixed before it kills a potentially great startup idea.

Look, this isn’t clickbait or tough love. I don’t assume that you’re an idiot, walking around thinking your startup idea is brilliant when it’s really terrible.

I mean, we all do that, right? But most of us eventually figure it out. So let’s go ahead and push through the fact that most startup ideas are indeed terrible.

Seriously, give me like 30 seconds on this. It sets the groundwork for the rest of the post.

Let’s Start At the Top Of the Bad Idea Funnel

Think of the measurement of the potential success of a startup idea as a funnel. At the top of the funnel, I have to ask myself the question: “Is my startup idea terrible?”

If I can answer that question in the negative, I get to move my idea down the funnel. That said, the vast majority of startup ideas are terrible and dead and floating at the top of that funnel.

OK, we’re past that first cut. One more big cut to go before we get to the real issue.

Now, even if my idea isn’t terrible, I don’t get to push it very far down the funnel, because the next question eliminates a lot of potentially successful startup ideas:

“Am I going to act on my startup idea in any meaningful way?”

You see where I’m going? Now we’ve got a bunch of never-started startup ideas floating dormant in the funnel just below the terrible startup ideas. Some of these ideas might be game-changers and world-changers, but we’ll never know, because the idea never got past the “someday I’m going read a really inspirational article about startups and make a serious run at this idea” stage.

Hey. Maybe this is that article. Maybe it isn’t. Maybe you’ve already stopped reading.

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Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building TeachingStartup.com & GROWERS. Write at Inc.com and BuiltIn.com. More at joeprocopio.com