The Billion Dollar Idea

I recently sat in a presentation for a cool new idea, it was well thought out and presented fairly well. As a business owner and entrepreneur myself I was interested in the business side of the idea more then the technical side, even though the technical side was very interesting as well.

When I hear someone talk about the next big thing or the multi-million dollar or billion dollar idea they loose me almost instantly. Although you should always have an exit strategy for your business, either profit or being acquired, saying your the next FaceBook, MySpace or YouTube does a disservice to your audience if your presenting to developers or business people, they know better.

There was a point in the meeting after the presentation where we were talking about a number of different things when on the presenters, not the main one, mentioned that our input of time to the project was turn into lots of money, and he made the ‘money’ signal rubbing his thumb, pointer and middle finger. I’ve been in a lot of presentations like this one, where someone has the biggest idea ever and they want some investment, either time, resources or money. But this is the first time I actually felt insulted.

I thought to myself that he practically guaranteeing truck loads of money if we put in some time and effort; was that an effort to sway me by making me feel like an idiot if I don’t get on board? My problem with these ‘pitch’ meetings is that everyone’s idea is the best one ever. I’ve never heard someone give an honest assessment, that it’s a good idea but will take a lot of time and effort to pull it off with very little chance of success.

Just having the ‘next biggest’ thing is never enough. You have to know people or know people that know people. You have to be in the right place at the right time and even with all that you need to have some luck to go along with your good idea. If your looking for help from other people don’t talk down to them by suggesting that they will make tons of cash, this is especially true for developers. For a developer to work on someone’s project like that they either have to be friends with the person, or have to have an interest in the technology behind it. Trying to coax these people with tails of untold riches won’t get you anywhere the vast majority of the time.

It’s had to be overly critical of your own idea, but that is what is required sometimes. I never run full bore into an idea. I let it incubate and cure in my head and on paper before I start perusing it. If your looking for other to help make sure they are interested in the idea and the technology, but not the pot of gold at the end. If that’s why they are in your project they could be weighing you down.

About: Shawn Jackson

I’ve spent the last 18 years in the world of Information Technology on both the IT and Development sides of the aisle. I’m currently a Software Engineer for Paylocity. In addition to working at Paylocity, I’m also the Founder of Resgrid, a cloud services company dedicated to providing logistics and management solutions to first responder organizations, volunteer and career fire departments, EMS, ambulance services, search and rescue, public safety, HAZMAT and others.