Ideas Vs Execution: Which is More Important for Success?

There is a never ending debate over the importance of ideas in success. In general there is an acceptance that execution is very important to success. However we find that people are split on whether ideas are that important as well.

Execution is more important to success.

A big percentage of people completely discard ideas, arguing that almost every person on earth have at least a business idea, and that these ideas go no where, thus ideas are worthless.
Seen from the perspective of whether “ideas” alone are important for success, then i guess i would agree. Ideas alone can do nothing, do not expect a rich investor to come give you a lot of money to execute your idea.
Also, when the idea is the same, it is always the execution that decides whether the project will be successful or not.
For example, take the Friendster VS. Facebook saga. Many times similar ideas are executed in a very good way, but the best execution end up controlling the market.

Ideas are more important to success.

A small percentage of people do take in consideration the power of ideas, that’s why you find consultants in many fields, not only their experience matter, but also their ideas. That’s also why the practice of brainstorming have become important in many companies. Ideas matter, innovative ideas lead to huge advantages to the companies.
Even if we consider initial business ideas, a developed business idea have it’s own weight and value, as it can contain the essence of the successful company or startup.
And my last argument for the importance of ideas, is the fact that even the best execution of a bad idea will lead to mediocre results.
To give you an example: A friend of mine worked on a startup that create story books about a specific person in the family. I called the idea bad early on, but the friend kept working on it for 2 years, before his team decided to shut down the operations. The idea was bad since day 1, and neither money nor the hard work of a multi-person team helped it succeed.

When it come to quotes related to Ideas Vs execution, we have a ton:
Steve Jobs : the best ideas have to win
Talk is cheap. Execution is everything.
People don’t care about what you say. They care about what you build – Mark Zuckerberg
The only impossible journey is the one you never begin – Tony Robbins
Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration – Thomas Edison
Good ideas are always crazy until they are not – Elon Musk – Larry Page
It’s easy to have ideas, it’s very hard to turn an idea into a successful product – Jeff Bezos
Dreams are a dime a dozen. It’s their execution that counts – Theodore Roosevelt
You have to believe it before you see it. – quote by unknown
Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions. – Albert Einstein
There’s no shortage of remarkable ideas, what’s missing is the will to execute them – Seth Godin
Ideas are worthless. Execution is everything – Scott Adams
The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.
To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe. – Anatole France

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Abdallah Alaili

I'm a serial entrepreneur (mostly tech) and micro-investor (tiny), this is a blog to learn from other entrepreneurs and spread the wisdom to many more. You can find me on: Instagram - Twitter - Linkedin - more about me