I’ve worked in the technology space for well over a decade now and one of the things that continues to keep me passionate in this field are ideas. From ideas that create new markets to ones that disrupt – our imaginations really are the limit. Being someone that gravitates toward entrepreneurial individuals, I’ve found through countless conversations that many have an almost endless supply of ideas. I include myself in this group. When I first started out in pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors I used to keep my ideas to myself, as if I were sitting on the next Facebook or Twitter. I was afraid that if anyone heard my idea they’d create a team, rush it to market and steal all of my millions. Of course, the harsh reality is that it’s very unlikely that that idea is in my head. But how do I know that? A close friend and I used to discuss our ideas openly because we shared a special trust. It didn’t take us long to find an idea we both liked and started working on it. Being this was our first idea, and we were both programmers, we cranked out an MVP before we even talked to anyone about the idea – that is, defined a target audience and performed even the most basic of market research. It wasn’t until months of custom development that we took our MVP public and started showing people. Our product met with mixed results – some liked it, some didn’t, most didn’t understand it. It was at this point that it finally clicked that we went about it completely backwards. Of course there was some basic entrepreneurial skills that I was lacking, but I also started to see how much effort goes into taking an idea from something that you discuss with a friend to an actual product. As great of a learning opportunity as it was, it wasn’t an experience I wanted to repeat
After this experience I continued to culminate a list of ideas that I wanted to work on. However, I wasn’t as quick to rush into creating a product this time around. I started seeking out more opinions and feedback about my ideas, I was still careful in who I chose and still kept my ideas fairly close. However, I learned something critical along the way – most of my ideas really weren’t that good. As I started getting feedback on my ideas I was able to re-organize my idea list and focus my energies on those that had the most positive feedback. I was validating my ideas and gaining critical insight into those ideas. I also gained insight into how I thought and my perceptions of the world. That is, the problems that I saw and my solutions for them. I finally realized that ideas are essentially worthless – worthless without validation and a ton of work to make them a reality. After some time I formed a small group that got together once a week to share and discuss ideas. We’d take turns pitching our ideas and receiving feedback from the group. This was a phenomenal experience as it usually resulted in a healthy dose of reality being injected into my viewpoint on any given idea that I had. At one point we decided that we wanted a platform to facilitate our meetings – the result was OpenIDEA.co. OpenIDEA’s primary service is to help you get validation on your ideas. You can use the platform to create and manage your ideas much like you would with your notebook. When you’re ready, you can add collaborators to the idea to provide discussion and exploration. This can provide you with critical insight into your idea and help you in making that critical decision to move forward with it.
I’d love to hear your feedback on OpenIDEA, check it out and let me know what you think – OpenIDEA.co.