You have probably been familiar with the question – what is an idea without execution? Let’s reverse this question.
Well, to answer this question what is execution without an idea called, we first need to address the issue of relation. I’ll assume we all roughly know what the idea is and what the execution is. An idea is a concept conceived in my mind, broadly speaking; and, execution is the performance of something. What is their connection and what their realization? There are several answers to this question.
To us, who share this startup and IT world several hours every day at least, the following answer is one of the most famous and frequent answers; nicely worded by this man.
Ideas are multipliers; however, they are not only multipliers but the multipliers of execution. It is here stated that the ideas are undoubtedly the multipliers of execution-only, and nothing more than that. Looking at the text on the right, Derek Sivers says it is rather strange and silly for people to protect their ideas. They want me to sign an NDA before they present me their simplest idea. To me, ideas are worth nothing unless they are executed. They are only a multiplier and it is the execution that is worth millions. And he presents a matrix that explains his position.
For example, you have an awful idea, a weak idea, a so/so idea, a good one, a great one, and a brilliant one. And, each of them is connected to a numeral. An awful idea will lead you to minus. So, having an awful idea is worse than being without an idea at all, according to Derek Sivers. Take this as a side note. It’s interesting that it is better to be without any idea than with an awful idea. If you have a week idea, it is positive. On the other hand, there is money/execution. Thus, these are only points that will be attributed to money as execution. To be clear, he is talking mainly about start-ups and products, and this is related to the execution of such ideas, the ideas that can be expressed in money.
There are also ideas that cannot be valued by monetary means, or at least not in an easy way; but, we will not deal with this here. So, there is no execution, which is worth a dollar for some reason. I do not want to be negative about this in any way. The text is very interesting, but there are some issues that remained unanswered; why is execution not worth zero dollars; but, let’s leave it for now. In this case a dollar, weak, so so good, great, brilliant execution, and of course, it culminates with brilliant execution which is ten million dollars. Thus, a brilliant idea and brilliant execution are twenty times ten million. For brilliant execution and an awful idea, it is minus a hundred million. You lost ten million dollars. And so on, a weak idea will be one, depending on how good execution, etc.
This is a basic idea. Execution is what matters. An idea is only a multiplier of execution. Execution dominates; an idea is multiplied.
However, since the early days of our schooling we learn that multiplication is a commutative operation, f(xy) is equal to f(yx), or 2×3 is the same as 3×2. We have all learned this. We can change the places, a multiplier allows it.
So, execution is only a multiplier of an idea. Let’s see the text on the right side once again. Execution is nothing else but a multiplier of an idea. Imagine now Derek Sivers in a parallel universe. It is very funny when people make so much effort to protect execution. There are some people who want me to sign an NDA only to see their execution. To me, execution is worth nothing without careful consideration or ideation. It is only a multiplier. Ideas are worth billions.
OK. Let’s now switch the order and assume execution is minus one, i.e. no execution is negative; it is better to do anything than nothing. According to this logic, it would be better if you have done anything that nothing. Weak, so so good, great, brilliant execution. So, on the idea side are dollars in this, and on the execution side are only multipliers, which reminds me of some talks I had at the time when MVP workshop was founded in 2016, which inspired me to talk about this topic. Ivan referred someone to talk to me. That person had made something. He did that for a client. It contained much of the Python code, which I am not going to elaborate on here. So, the man came and we talked. I understood what had been executed. In the end, I asked him what he had wanted to talk to me about. I understand what you have done. What do you need from me? And he says, well I am going around talking to people I heard of or I am referred to asking them if they have any idea what to do with this since the ideas are cheap and the execution is what matters. My answer was, I do not have any idea for you; since the idea is cheap, find your own way. So, he actually thought in the way number one, and lived in the way number two. I agree neither with the way one nor the way two. Or, if you prefer me to say, I agree with both way one and way two, which means I disagree with both ways.
Sun Tzu, a very wise man from China, says strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, and tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Let me say a few words about strategy and tactics. Strategy is designing of a concept, e.g. of attack in war: and tactics is the implementation of the concept in the field. If we would think deeply about this, and I am daring you to do so, and try to transfer strategy and tactics to ideation, i.e. to idea and execution, we could make the following statement.
An idea without execution is the slowest route to victory, and execution without idea is noise before defeat.
In my opinion, idea and execution have nothing to do with multiplication but with completely other kind of operation. Even at this moment I do not know the relation between them, but I am sure it is not multiplication.
To answer the question from the beginning of my deliberations, what is the name for execution without an idea – loud noise only before defeat.