The danger of ideas

“Power of example; My mama said it and I heard; She says one ounce of action; Beats a ton of words”. ~Martin Sexton ----

The danger in ideas, especially “developing” them, is that they FEEL like forward motion. However, it is only through actions that anything gets done.

I work with many companies, and people, who simply need help getting to the next level. Whether that is finding the right job, getting funding, or preparing for the opportunities for the 2015. Lately, I’ve started examining successes and failures in business, group dynamics, and many of the reasons why startups and projects I work with fail. I realized that the failures frequently come when ideas and actions are too far separated. Perhaps we are too well indoctrinated into a look before you leap philosophy. Which is useful at times, but is no longer canonic law in today’s age of business and technology.

I’ve been pondering this theory for some time now. It has been through the creation process of 8150 – High Altitude Entrepreneurs that I was able to put my thoughts together. The eureka moment was when I realized that my co-creator – Doug Clayton – and I have a very similar Modus Operandi. We do not split ideas and execution. We think – should Brad Feld return this year to talk about Startup Communities? And I’m already emailing him. Doug says, “Hey Bickerton, you should listen to this podcast on XYZ – give me your phone so I can downloaded for you.” Should we file our 501(c)3 papers, and I’m already on the Secretary of State website.

The problem is when individuals or groups of people work on a regular occasion to talk about ideas and there is a separation with action, the group leaves FEELING like there is work accomplished, but on further reflection, nothing is getting done.

It is common knowledge in the startup world that ideas are cheap and action is invaluable. However, I’m starting to think that ideas are worse than cheap, because they feel like forward motion.

I like the way Jeremy Rietmann of the VVP put the definition of an entrepreneur “[they] are people who see the difference between what is and what could be, and they work to fill that gap.” The key is that there is an ‘and they work’ not an ‘and then they do something else before they get to work.’

Two weeks ago I met casually with a local startup to talk about the methods and process of receiving funding from some angel investors they have access to. This group has a solid resume and base in entrepreneurship, but there were pieces they lacked. A day after I gave them some information, ideas, and to dos, they approached me to ask me to join their team in some capacity. They noticed the gap between what was and what could be and they took steps to fix that. There was no distance between the idea and the action.

At 8150 I see it all the time. Someone mentioned having stickers and puffy coats made up, a member is working that out now. We talked about having business education as part of our weekly meetings, done. We have 777x2 pitches every week. We are working to help the Glenwood StartUp Weekend (which will lead to the Vail Valley SUW). Matt Scherr saw the excitement of the group and wrote a blog post. There was no delay, there is unity between ideas and actions.

As always, I try to have a call to action; take the next idea you have from DIY home work, to starting a company, to whatever. Don’t think about how to get it done, just instantly take the first step you think of to do it.

If you want to me around some people who think like this come along to an 8150 Thursday night.

But hey, what do I know?


Brad Bickerton lives in Minturn, co-founded 8150 – High Altitude Entrepreneurs, and pays the bills working as an attorney.