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The Idea vs Execution — Not a debate for us anymore

One of the most popular debates in the tech world is The Idea vs Execution debate.

Are ideas everything or execution is the only thing that matters?

The simplest and coolest explanation on this topic I have come across is from Derek Sivers. He wrote,

“To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.”

Here is how he explained it…

Credit: Crew.co

According to him, to make a business you need to multiply the two.

Credit: Crew.co

That means…

BRILLIANT IDEA x NO EXECUTION = $20
BRILLIANT IDEA x BRILLIANT EXECUTION = $20,000,000

For the purpose of this article, let’s call it Siver’s Calculator and let me explain why I believe his theory.

We have launched multiple ideas in past. Some of them were GREAT IDEAs but still we failed in almost all of them because of WEAK EXECUTION. Let’s take a little walk down the memory lane to understand.

2004

We started Digicorp in 2004 as a product-based company. We launched a product called Get In — A Biometric System for small businesses to monitor employee attendance for payroll. We were doing fine till a big project inquiry came from USA. They wanted us to build an Electronic Medical Records system for a group of clinics in Arizona. The common sense at that time said USD > ₹ so we shifted our focus and became an IT service company . Get In was OUT from our mind!

I believe “Get In” was a GOOD IDEA at that time but a WEAK EXECUTION made it a $10000 idea not worth out time anymore.

2007

Rivals4Ever

Now defunct, Rivals4Ever.com allowed users to create their own rivalries such as Pepsi vs Coke, Federer vs Nadal, Red Sox vs Yankees, India vs Pakistan, etc and invite their friends to join the rivalries. It was a platform to show your support for your idol and disregard for the rival. It was an extremely passionate product.

It was a indeed a GREAT IDEA and we launched it in LeWeb 3, Paris. We were the only Indian company chosen to present in LeWeb’s startup competition.

Over the period of next few months, our WEAK EXECUTION made it a $15000 idea. It died its own slow death after a couple of years.

Sign in Style

Now defunct, Sign in Style allowed you to have your own Designer Signature , if you are not satisfied with your own signature (handwritten). It gave you options of 3 Designer Signatures, created by our calligraphers, along with the videos showing how to do them.

Once again, a GREAT IDEA. So great that CNBC Awaaz covered it in one of its tech shows on television.

Once again over the years, our lack of focus and WEAK EXECUTION made it a $15000 idea not worth out time anymore.

SaleDoRaDo

The idea of SaleDoRaDo was to give consumers access to all the ongoing deals in local shops around them directly to their mobile phones via SMS and on saledorado.com. It was 2007 and we did not have any of the deal sites nor there were smartphones with good internet connectivity.

Imagine users sending an SMS to a SaleDoRaDo number with their areas and cities and in return getting a list of shops offering all types of discounts in those areas. They can further dig down to a category as well for e.g. Give me list of shops offering discounts on jeans.

GREAT IDEA? We thought so but there was NO EXECUTION and it made it a $20 idea.

Petpooja

Back in 2007, we started Petpooja as an online food delivery service same as today’s Swiggy, Foodpanda or Zomato Order.

We bought the domain, designed a website, signed up about 50 restaurants of Ahmedabad, bought a special number, opened a small call centre to take orders over phone, spent some money in online / offline advertising. But was it enough? Probably not. It still amounted to a SO-SO EXECUTION and this GREAT IDEA for us was not so great anymore ($15000).

Interestingly, couple of our friends revived Petpooja in 2011 with a different business model. Apparently they have done a GREAT EXECUTION so far and Petpooja is now worth $15,000,000 (Well, literally little less than that but you get the idea).

2011

I See. I Act.

Inspired by the TechCrunch50 finalists of 2009, CitySourced, we thought of doing the same thing in India as I See. I Act. — A mobile app for enlightened citizens to report civic issues like potholes, graffiti to authorities by just clicking a picture.

But this time, we were smarter and little cautious. We just made a prototype (Full HTML skeleton and an iPhone app preview in Flash) and not the entire product. After doing some market validation, we realised that it would be very very difficult for a product like this to become commercially viable. Authorities were not interested for obvious reasons; There were not enough smartphones and data was expensive. We dropped the idea with a heavy heart.

GREAT IDEA even today but required nothing less than BRILLIANT EXECUTION to make it a success.

2012:

Axiom

Probably, one of our biggest failures in terms of execution.

It started as a set of business analytics projects for large corporates and we wanted to pull out common components, libraries from them to make a platform. A platform which provides Components, APIs, Services and Data Store as building blocks for creating smart, next-gen apps for startups, small businesses and enterprises.

This time we were more committed and we worked on it for more than three years! But I guess it wasn’t enough. Even though we generated revenues from those projects, at the end we lost a lot of money building the platform and most importantly precious time.

Axiom was a BRILLIANT IDEA but our SO-SO EXECUTION made it a mere $200,000 idea not worth more of our time.

2014

Vivaah

A Wedding App for Bride and Bridegroom to manage the entire event with friends and family.

Looking back, it feels like a SO-SO IDEA and with NO EXECUTION, it leaves us nowhere in any case.

2016

ReadBoard

ReadBoard is the fastest way to start a conversation on any passage of a web article with your colleagues, friends and family. It is also a great place to meet like-minded readers and thinkers on the Web.

I believe the idea is GOOD if not GREAT. We have also made a beautiful product. We spent a few months building it, promoting it and building a community. But all of that still amounts to a WEAK EXECUTION and we are left with a $10000 idea.

BA Apps

BA Apps delivers beautiful Business Analytics App in a fraction of cost ($10K) and time (10 Days) compared to existing BI and Analytics Platforms.

A Business Analytics App helps you find patterns in your business data to answer critical business questions and make informed decisions. It is focused only on one business process of your organisation.

A GOOD IDEA but once again WEAK EXECUTION makes it a $10000 idea.

CricHeroes

The CricHeroes App allows cricketers to score their Local Cricket Matches and Tournaments digitally and broadcast scores LIVE ball to ball just like an International Match.

Finally, we have a BRILLIANT IDEA with GOOD EXECUTION so far and it is literally worth more than $2,000,000 right now.

We scored our first match on the CricHeroes App in October 2016 and we are growing 60% month-over-month thereafter. In 13 months, more than 300,000 cricketers have registered on the platform; More than 15000 matches, 1200 tournaments have been scored in 450+ cities/towns of India and abroad. And we have 6 State Cricket Associations using our platform to score all their official cricket matches.

None of this could have happened without taking some hard calls, giving it an extreme focus and dedicate ourselves. The jury is still out but we know only a BRILLIANT EXECUTION can make it a $20,000,000 business and I will settle for nothing less.

Propeller

One of our first developer products, Propeller is a front-end responsive framework based on Google’s Material Design Standards & Bootstrap.

After all these years, we know for sure that if we don’t multiply GOOD IDEA with GREAT EXECUTION, we are going nowhere.

So, next time when you come up with a BRILLIANT idea, however excited you are for it, make sure you revisit the Siver’s Calculator and remind yourself that Ideas are just multipliers, Execution is everything.


I am Abhishek Desai, co-founder of Digicorp and founder of CricHeroes.

Digicorp is a software consultancy and startup studio based in Ahmedabad, India. We build usable software products for startups. We also work on homegrown ideas and spin off the most promising ones as separate ventures.

CricHeroes is an ultimate Cricket Scoring App and world’s only true Cricket Network.

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