Ideas Require Application

2013-08-15 08.03.09-2 I find that people come up with ideas all the time, mint them, and then post them out there for people to consider. Take my idea of the new cities of the web. It’s interesting to consider. For instance, if you’re selling insurance or lawn care products, what will you do with this information? That’s what I’m working on today, such as it were. Because the idea alone isn’t fully useful, is it?

Ideas Require Application

Can you imagine if the Wright Brothers stopped after saying, “Sure, it’s totally possible to fly.” That wouldn’t get us from Boston to London. Someone always has to take an idea further and apply it, break it out, extrapolate it, test it against the real world. The road to failure is littered with people who went no further than the idea phase.

What does it take to make ideas real?

“And Then What?”

I find that questions are amazing tools. Think about that question: “and then what?” and apply it to your own ideas. I say “cities aren’t as much about geography as they are recommendations.” I then say, “if you’re a marketer, how do you apply this to your product or service?”

Ah, now this gets tricky. Because you might say, “Then I’ll talk to people about how great my product or service is.” I say, “Where, or how, or in what manner?” You might reply, “I’ll blog about it.” And then what? And then what?

For instance, in thinking through how this concept of referral based marketing could be applied to a lawn care company, I thought about targets. It’s not the end user of the product I have to connect with deeper. It’s the seller of the product. Okay, so what does that seller need? And then how do I help them even more? Do I have to help them beyond the boundaries of my product? Probably. And then what?


Go Forth And Execute

An idea is a seed that looks pretty but won’t feed the family. Take what you learn and execute. Try things. Test. Discover. Explore. Apply. That’s what will get you moved forward.

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  • Geoffrey Gordon

    Hi Chris

    Your closing argument, sums it up best.

    “An idea is a seed that looks pretty but won’t feed the family. Take what you learn and execute. Try things. Test. Discover. Explore. Apply. That’s what will get you moved forward.”

    The problem is always in the application phase….

    That’s why some succeed and others don’t, because of a simple word…


    • Chris Brogan

      We agree. But right before the action and right after the idea is a recipe. :)

  • Ash

    I find that trying to reframe an idea as an implementable solution to real everyday problems is a good test.

    Of course that then means the solution has to be delivered in the form of a product or service … But if I can’t get a great idea to solve a problem for a segment of customers … Then it’s best left as a great idea :-)

    • Chris Brogan

      Quite agree. If all you get is an idea, it’s not all that useful. Might be nifty, but not helpful.

  • Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Chris,

    Ideas by themselves to nothing. Half finished or 3/4 completed ideas do nothing lol….completed ideas, ideas seen through to the end, these ideas change lives.

    Getting to the completed point takes work. Lots of work. And frustration at times, and joy, and some anger and annoyance along the way, but if you embrace these emotions you can change many, many lives, and feel fulfilled by reaching your goals.

    Thanks Chris, another powerful reminder here!


    • Chris Brogan

      Quite agree, sir. Glad to be helpful. : )

  • rmsorg

    Excellent motivating post!!

    Changing the world requires an enormous amount of work and the search for answers to very specific questions!!

    Great way to start my Wednesday!

    • Chris Brogan

      And changing just a tiny bit still requires a start. : )

      • rmsorg

        Yes :)

  • Raul Colon

    So many people reach out to me to tell me their excellent idea so I can donate my time to help them reach their goal with the hope of making some money maybe in the future.

    I can’t imagine how many times a day it happens to you. I honestly can even execute most of the ideas I have why would I want to take some else’s idea and prioritize it over my ideas.

    At the end of the day its just like running 5 miles if you don’t put one foot in front of the other your not going to make it. So take the first step and then follow with the next!

  • Brenda Horton

    Ideas are a dime a dozen. It is coming up with a plan and executing on that plan that will turn those ideas into a reality. Actionplanr is an easy-to-use software system I co-created to help solopreneurs do just that.

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  • Doug Wojtczak

    I find myself guilty of what you said more often than not. I tell someone about my great idea that will change the world and then I never start.

    Thanks for putting it so simply.

  • Dale Callahan

    And whoever acts on the idea is the one who gets credit.

  • Carlos

    Ideas are just that, Ideas. That is until you take action and do something about it. And asking “And then what?” is genius. Asking this will reveal if its a good idea or not. Only because you have ideas doesn’t mean you should pursue it. Great post Chris!

  • bob

    Once you get the “And then what?” answered for the future, the next question is “Now what” to get started-little hinges turn big door-a little every day!

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  • Jose Palomino

    I guess sometimes the difficult part happens when you have so many ideas but are still working on the “And then what?” of your first great idea. The reality is that we still need sleep and to see our families so it’s impossible to work on every great idea 100% of the time.

    However, if you’re really serious about your ideas, then I’d recommend starting either a GDoc for EACH idea or a Trello board for EACH idea — and every time you have something new to add, you have a place to go. You can always proactively work on each idea, even if it can’t be your primary focus all of the time.

  • zeenat

    if we work with present mind we dont need to say AND THEN WHAT ?

  • James Cruz

    Very informative post. People should always remember in what discussion they are participating or what business they run, is it relevant or not? This matters.

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  • Arlen Miller

    Get off hun-hun. Apply! Do!

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