Ideas are worth next-to-nothing

I was reading through a discussion thread on a programming forum, where someone was proposing that a large software vendor should pay community members for ideas on how to enhance said software vendor’s platform. This is an interesting idea, which files in the face of my own personal belief that ideas (with a few notable exceptions) are worth approximately nothing. It is the implementation/execution of the idea that is worth something. Lets look at some big software companies - Microsoft and Google. Operating systems were certainly not a new idea when Microsoft released MS-DOS, it was their implementation of the idea and the royalty stream they created through savvy licensing to IBM that made MS. The operating system they licensed to IBM wasn’t even theirs, it was a CP/M clone they bought for $50K. Internet search and on-line advertising were not new ideas when google entered this market, but their dogged refinement of their search implementation built the brand/trust in the company, which in turn lead to extreme user buy-in and eventually a strong “network effect” between on-line content providers (AdSense) and advertisers (AdWords). Strong implementations of ideas are bought and sold every day (they’re called companies, or the rights to products) whereas there is not currently an established market for ideas.

See also: No One Is Going To Steal Your Brilliant Idea


i guess this may have been me. i think it hardly needs to be said that just because a company is succesful on non-original ideas, that original ideas are worth nothing.

i 100% agree that unimplemented idea’s are worthless, and that the implementation of an idea is critical, but to say your idea’s are worth nothing is a little strange. if they’re worth nothing why provide them? why do people want them? they are clearly worth something.
14/04/2008 10:42:00 PM