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The Billion-Dollar Idea Fallacy

By: Tim Berry

 

Billion Dollar Idea Fallacy

What is wrong, you ask, with thinking your business idea is worth a billion dollar idea? That you have the next unicorn?

Nothing…

Nothing. That’s a dream. We all dream. We dream of writing a great novel, being a pro athlete, being a movie star, or being Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg.

The younger we are, the grander the dreams. We’re built that way. It’s one of the joys of being human. And dreams inspire us.

That’s why so many young entrepreneurs think their ideas are worth billions.

Unless the dream interferes with reality…

And there’s nothing wrong with the dream as long as it doesn’t interfere with reality. However, the billion-dollar-idea (BDI) fallacy does interfere with reality, and way too often. That’s the dark side. Too many young people delude themselves into thinking that the BDI, alone, has value without work, execution, and getting things done. They think they can sell an idea. They waste their time and energy trying to sell that BDI without realizing that it’s not something they own, not something other people will buy, and not something that has value. And that’s a shame.

In the real world, a good idea is like a beautiful day. Everybody owns it. Some people take more advantage of it than others.

Look at the big wins in history. Jobs, Gates, Zuckerberg and other people who created billion dollar businesses didn’t waste even a second trying to trade on the idea. Instead, they got going with actual execution. They gathered teams together and got work done. The work turned their ideas into billion dollar businesses. The people they gathered turned the idea into a billion dollar business.

(Note: this post started as my answer to a Quora question: Why do so many young entrepreneurs think their ideas are worth billions?)

Published: March 24, 2017
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Tim Berry

Tim Berry is co-founder of Have Presence, founder and Chairman of Palo Alto Software, founder of bplans.com, and a co-founder of Borland International. He is author of books and software including LivePlan and Business Plan Pro, The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, and Lean Business Planning, published by Motivational Press in 2015. He has a Stanford MBA degree and degrees with honors from the University of Oregon and the University of Notre Dame. He taught starting a business at the University of Oregon for 11 years.

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