Saturday, September 29, 2007

The value of an idea

I was sitting down with my fellow co-founder the other day and we got to talking about the philosophy of ideas. Specifically how you value them.

It was an interesting conversation. My takeaway was that your perceived value of an idea is in direct proportion to the difficulty you would have had coming up with it yourself. Thus, creative ideas from your accountant about how to avoid unnecessary tax are more valuable than fashion advice - it's not hard to figure out what looks good, but it's tough to avoid the IRS.

If you're pitching an idea, you need to reverse-engineer this argument. You need to present a simple idea with a complicated or difficult creation path. This gives the idea scarcity - originality borne of difficulty, not newness.

Scarce ideas and new ideas can both have value, it's just easier to see the value in something that LOOKED like it took effort to achieve.

One of these subtle, but important points.

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