How To Test Your Next Great Idea

I’ve learned a valuable lesson I’d like to share about new ideas – great ideas, even entrepreneurial startups. 

When I describe a new concept in detail and the response is, “what a great idea”, I don’t do it.

A great new idea should be disruptive.  The response you’re looking for is “it will never work”.

Imagine Thomas Edison trying to get people to like the light bulb even after all his failures.  What’s wrong with a candle or gaslight?

Or a 24-hour all-news cable TV network?  The reaction to swashbuckling entrepreneur Ted Turner’s fledgling CNN was McNews, a reference to McDonalds and a shortsighted slam at the notion that viewers would support a cable news channel.

Steve Jobs’ iPod was even a stretch to early adopters – after all, there were already MP3 players on the market and lots of CDs.  

Facebook – that was for kids, wasn’t it?  It will never amount to anything, they said.  But founder Mark Zuckerberg was fueled by the impossible.

YouTube was so off the wall it would have been rejected by Google had the young men who started it in a garage actually worked for Google.  Their lawyers would have killed YouTube for stealing copyrighted material.  Instead, Google paid $1.65 billion to buy what is arguably the future of online video and later figured out how to compensate the content providers.

If others think an idea is great, it is probably not innovative enough.

If they hate it, and I love it with a passion – that’s the green light to do it.

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