The most discouraging thing about running a startup is how long it takes to start up. Maybe that’s why I found The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun such a great read. He systematically demolishes common misconceptions about how ideas get to market. Just skimming some of the chapter headings made me feel better:
We’ve absorbed these myths into our culture because they make entertaining and memorable stories, but innovation rarely works that way. Edison had a team of reasearchers working for him and trial-and-error was his primary means of refining ideas. The advertising industry owes much of its existence to the difficulty of getting people to try new products and services. Sometimes it takes years for a new development to reach consumers, as was the case with 3M’s laughably weak glue formula eventually becoming the blockbuster Post-It note.
It’s good to be reminded of these counterexamples. The idea is often the easy part. It’s the execution that’s hard.