Caleb Schoepp

Ideas are worthless, execution is everything

Published August 5, 2021

This post serves as a reminder to myself that “Ideas are worthless, execution is everything"1. I want to stop believing that the only thing holding me back from starting a company/open-source project/etc. is a lack of good ideas.

The idea fallacy is so common that the entrepreneurial community has developed memes to defend against it; “Ideas are worthless, execution is everything"; “10% idea, 90% execution”. However, I still struggle with this so here are 3 examples of times where:

  1. I had a decent idea.
  2. Didn’t execute on the idea.
  3. Later discovered that someone else executed on the idea and that I missed my shot.

Let these examples remind me that I need to stop wishing for the perfect idea — I just need to execute.

Maybe you’ll find it helpful too.

Reverse searching podcast guests

  1. I listen to a lot of podcasts. Sometimes I’ll really enjoy the guest on a podcast and I’ll want to discover all of the other podcasts this guest has been on. This is really hard to do. I wanted to make a website that would let you reverse search for podcast guests to find all the podcasts they’ve been on.
  2. I didn’t execute.
  3. Months later while listening to the Running in Production podcast I discovered that someone made a website solving this exact problem.

Remote learning questions platform

  1. Because of the pandemic I was entering into a semester of classes where everything would be delivered remotely. I wanted to build a platform that would allow students in a class to signal that they were confused. If the professor saw that enough students were confused they would be able to slow down. The platform would also support questions with some sort of upvote system.
  2. I didn’t execute.
  3. Listening to the Indie Hackers Podcast I learned that the founders of Segment had a built an application like this in the past. It ultimately didn’t work but that was without the remote conditions imposed by the pandemic.

Augmented reality clothes fitting

  1. In an entrepreneurial course at my school I worked with a team to mock design/market/sell/etc. an AR clothes fitting mirror. The idea was that you would be able to look at yourself in a special mirror and it would project different clothing onto your body.
  2. I didn’t execute.
  3. On Hacker News I discovered that there is a company actually doing this now.

Enough is enough Caleb. Go execute!

  1. While I was doing research for this post I found a more nuanced take on this idea that I really like. ↩︎

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