Do you kill good ideas?

Via Bob Sutton, here’s an old post about the importance of killing good ideas.

The thing I remember best was that Jobs advised them that killing bad ideas isn’t that hard — lots of companies, even bad companies, are good at that. Jobs’ argument went something like this: What is really hard – and a hallmark of great companies – is that they kill a lot of good ideas. Sure, this is tough on people who have come-up with the good ideas as they love them and don’t want to see them die. But that for any single good idea to succeed, it needs a lot of resources, time, and attention, and so only a few ideas can be developed fully. Successful companies are tough enough to kill a lot of good ideas so those few that survive have a chance of reaching their full potential and being implemented properly.

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His argument also resonates with our experience teaching in the d.school — the groups that often do the worst work have too many pet ideas and can’t bring themselves to kill enough of them, so they don’t do a decent job on any of them.

This applies at the personal level, as well. In an interview with Colin Marshall a few months ago, Robin Hanson noted that he’s similarly interested in many areas, but he forces himself to focus and become a specialist in particular areas. This is probably my biggest failing so far – being interested in many different things but not doing enough work to get extraordinary at any of them. The consulting blog was an attempt to get around this.

Liked what you read? I am available for hire.

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