Recently, I was walking through Toys R Us with my son when he, as I expected, ran off. He came back to me with a T-Pain Microphone. I had to shut him down considering this would have been the 4th time we got him this frail microphone. As he played with it, I said to myself, damn it he’s no T-Pain but he has some skills. T-pain sold his idea to the people. Now everyone could sound a bit like T- Pain. Which reminded me about the people always afraid to speak about their ideas because they fear someone will steal it. Let’s get into why you should tell everyone about your idea.
Will They Swagger Jack Me?
Last night I sat in on a class based off the Steve Blank’s Lean Launch Pad. One guy told the class, “I am afraid to share my ideas because someone will steal it.” This is something that I hear very often and, honestly, I used to think the same way. I remember someone telling me, “If you have an idea, chances are 1000 other people have the same one.” I would go on to hear this message at every startup event or meet up based on entrepreneurship I would attend. They were dead on!
T-Pain obviously wasn’t the first person to use auto-tune. There were many artists that have used or were using auto-tune at the time. What separated him from the rest was the way he executed using auto-tune. As much as we hate it, everyone was singing a T-Pain hook at one time or another. He added a different twist to the auto-tune style and made hit after hit.
When conceptualizing an idea, it is very easy for us to keep it inside or only tell very close friends about it. We are all afraid that someone will jack our ideas. Chances are, someone is already working on the same idea. What separates you from the rest could be the way you execute on the idea. Think Nike vs Supras! Same idea but different execution. Chances are they will both survive because they execute differently on the same basic idea, making sneakers people want.
I’m Only Telling My Crew!
When presenting an idea to a friend or family member you already did your idea a disservice. Family members and close friends will always tell you that it’s a good idea. That’s great and all but what if they’re lying? Chances are they’ll say whatever makes you happy. A real question to ask is, “Will you help me right now to get this idea off the ground?” If they say no, then it proves that they may have said it to be nice. Don’t ask the crew, ask strangers or people in your network that you know will not bullshit you. Talk to a mentor or meet-up group. Just be prepared for any answer. If they say it sucks, it might or it might not. That’s still up to you to figure out if this is something you are dedicated to pursue.
Pen to Pad
I have tons and tons of ideas running through my head every day. This is great, but it can be a burden at times. There were times when I would wake up with an idea then forget about it as soon as it came to me. I spoke to my friend Amber Rae about this one time and she advised me to put the pen to the pad and jot everything down. Just have a book of ideas. I had heard this before many of times, but she has a way of making you feel excited about everything you do. I became addicted to mole skins by the way.
The ideas-to-notebook trick can do wonders. I used it more and more to get things out of my head. I felt as if I had way too many things running through my head. I would bounce from one idea to another but never planting a solid footing on one idea. By writing down the ideas I started to ease the clutter that was in my head. After a while I started getting full nights of sleep again and started to notice that some of my ideas truly sucked. I wouldn’t have been able to do this with the ideas stuck in my head.
Talking to Others
Writing down my ideas helped tremendously. Now I was able to pick the ideas I really liked and could start focusing on them. This made it easier for me to talk to others about the idea. I didn’t talk to them to get approval though, don’t make that mistake. I would talk to others about the idea to help me brainstorm and perfect the value proposition of my idea. I had people tell me they loved some of the ideas others would tell me that I was crazy. It was all good, I respected everyone’s opinion but if I believed in the idea I was going to do it anyway.
What I did learn from telling others was that I could really hone in on my idea and tweak it without having to pay a hefty consulting fee. People most of the time would give me great advice on taking the next steps. Some would even offer valuable services in exchange for simply having a great discussion. People in the startup world love to help, but if they do not understand what you’re working on, then how could they help? By speaking about your ideas to anyone that will listen, you start building a strategy behind it, which could have taken months if you stored it in your head. Also, chances are the people you speak to will be way to busy executing on their ideas to steal yours.
Presenting to the World
I remember listening to a freestyle where the artist said something like “What’s a fully loaded clip if you’re not shooting?” Getting an idea out of your head and speaking to others about it is great, but you need to execute on the idea. By speaking to people about your idea, the execution portion becomes much easier. As I spoke to everyone about some of my ideas they would do something totally unexpected at the time. They would stop and say, “Wait, I know someone working on something like this, there are some synergies there, let me introduce you to…” Now people that heard my idea added value to it by offering connections in their network to make the idea a reality.
My network grew tremendously as people were introducing me to other like-minded individuals. Now if I had an issue with incorporating I could reach out to a CPA through a friend. Chances are they would help because they believe in paying it forward. Due to this I would have a team of people that I could tap for advice, or even hire for their services. This wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t present the idea to the world. Even a site like ours opens doors. It’s not the most beautiful site in the world, but we believe in the concept and so do some of our friends. Those friends will be there to guide us in the right direction, you can’t beat that.
T- Pain wasn’t the only person to think that using auto-tune was great, but the way he did it was different. When thinking about an idea, remember, thousands of other people are thinking the same thing. What will make your idea stand out will be the execution. Don’t store the ideas in your head, go out there and tell the world. This way you can perfect the delivery, strategy and even find people to help you make it a reality while promoting it at the same damn time. Amber Rae once asked me, “Would you rather have the idea die in your head, or would you rather see someone bring it to market?” I would rather someone bring my idea to life then let it die in my head if I know for a fact I’m not going to be able to act on it.
Have an idea that you think will propel you to the next level? Tell the world, or tell us, we promise not to take your idea. Chances are we are way too busy with our own idea to out-execute you. Hit us up we are fans of ideas and helping!
Image Credit: CC by Andrew Tarvin