Almost every time I meet someone with a great idea they are so focused on the problems associated
with the idea that they lose touch entirely with the fact that the solution comes from raising capital.
If the vision is strong enough there is invariably an infinite amount of capital available to help realize that vision. However this capital is only unleashed when the vision starts to relentlessly march forward in execution mode. That means that the entrepreneur needs to not only be thinking about how to develop the technology, secure the patents etc. He (or she) also needs to be thinking about how to market it, develop the customer relationships, make sales (ahead of production), and to inspire people with the idea. All of these things absolutely have to happen in parallel.
I was talking to a young scientist today, who is really brilliant. However he is also utterly insecure. He has been taught about the need to do the research, the research, the research. He has been imprinted by the academic system with a culture of thinking small and taking a long time to do so. I told him that he needs to unlearn a lot of what he has learned. Instead he needs to get an absolute focus on the customer and their very specific needs; to not be sidetracked by all the other things that could be done on the way to developing what I think is a incredible socially valuable and extraordinary product.
Of course his idea is going to need a huge amount of research. Of course it is going to take time. But the job of any CEO is to find ways to shorten development time, to identify markets and what they will tolerate on the way to perfection, and to get product out there and start selling – even if this is primarily to figure out what problems have not been foreseen in the initial development stages.
Media plays a very significant part of this too. If you can’t create a visualization of the device or the technology that you want to build, how is someone who has no idea of your idea going to understand it. We are, after all, visual beings.
Getting the idea into the market is all about getting things done. It is hard. But you have to keep on pushing forward, and you have to start raising capital.