Ideas are cheap

I have been interacting a lot recently with various types of entrepreneurs, and I often hear this phrase “Ideas are cheap”. I had never really thought too deeply about it before, but I decided to ask 3 close friends of different professions (Photographer, Artist & Musician) to comment on what this meant.


“It suggest an idea without implementation or follow through is worthless, it’s like the ideas are easy on their own”

“Ideas are cheap and action is expensive, or talk is cheap.”

“Because the follow through and execution logistics are the hard part”

To my surprise all 3 were very similar, and this flips my mind to an analgous train of thought- the Product Development Rule of 10.

  • At concept you can change direction for x$
  • At sub-assembly it will cost you 10x$
  • At assembly to change it will cost you 100x$
  • Your product is at the dealer or distributor, a change will cost 1000x$
  • The products were sold, a change will cost you 10,000x$

The rule of 10. -Ideas are at the beginning of the process, when not huge amounts of time have been invested and thus ideas are cheap. Once engineering, tooling execution get involved the cost goes up x10, x100 etc, etc.

A lot of entrepreneurs have bad ideas, not because the idea in itself is bad, but because the idea has a lot of “curb appeal” but the other components to what makes it successful are not there or bad – the “how” or even the consumer “why”

Over 90% of innovations are marketplace flops

So maybe the saying should be flipped to say  “only good ideas win” or “execute only the good” because we know that ideas are cheap!

Now, don’t get me started on group Brainstorming, thats another great discussion for good / bad and artificially protected ideas. Maybe that will be my next post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s