The best idea’s are hard to miss. Their brilliance stares at you. That’s what I used to think anyways. Now I’m not so sure. Let me quit rambling and explain this slightly depressing mini epiphany.
The back story: I selected an entrepreneurship module for my second term of my MSc Computer Science degree. The thinking was it would be an exercise in attempting to launch a real product. Unfortunately it descended into what these things normally do; business plans. A complete waste of time. Anyways I digress (There’s probably a blog post in there somewhere titled ‘the structural failings of higher education’).
I and my merry band of teammates did the usual brainstorming. We came up with a list of ‘start-up ideas’, ranging from the completely ridiculous, to the somewhat plausible. After ruling out our more wacky ideas (try to find ‘Airbnb for private toilets’ on the scribble below if you can), we settled on something that would be later dubbed ‘Game On’.
Essentially it’s a match making mobile app that pairs local amateur footballers, with local teams short of players. All players would have a profile that would feature Amazon style five star ratings based on ability and reliability. Think ‘dating app for footballers and football teams, with a dash of Uber thrown in’.
Frankly, I didn’t think this thing had any legs. Yet (some) people I spoke lit up in a smile that said ‘oh that’s actually really cool’. Maybe I was speaking to the wrong crowd. Most of them were in the same class. They too had sat through countless sh*t ideas, so perhaps anything remotely interesting was probably bound to produce a positive reaction.
Don’t underestimate the power of great design as well. Our resident designer Adam Noden mock-ups made the idea only seem even more credible to our peers and teachers. Just even looking at them makes me forget my initial skepticism.
Even more baffling the ‘amateur footballers’ I spoke to seem to murmur ‘good idea’. I was stumped. Would people really turn on an app in search of strangers to join their game and visa versa? Would players rate other players honestly? Was there enough people/games going on to make this a viable market? I say market, like there was a credible way you could monetize this thing? Isn’t this all too niche? All unanswered questions. The reality is only a prototype would have allowed us to really find out. Harsh truth is without one our business plan was nothing but fiction
None of this is super profound. Or even really new to me. It just happens to be the clearest example I’ve come across of the worthlessness of a ‘good idea’ sans execution/testing. People telling you your idea is good is a world away from them putting their time and money into your ‘product’.
To note even though I was never sold on the concept, feel free to run with it and prove me wrong. When I read of you million dollar exit to *fill in company* in tech crunch, I’ll produce a wry smile (after a few tears of course).