I continue to enjoy my book, Founders at Work. A few nights ago, I read through the interview with the founder of del.icio.us, Joshua Schachter. One of his comments (pp 230) really leaped off the page, grabbed me, and shook me with both hands ….
I have never had a great deal of trust for people who don’t execute on core ideas. I understand the value of needing someone to deal with that kind of stuff — someone’s got to do the VC pitch and there’s got to be a CFO, etc. But the guy who says, “I have a great idea and I’m looking for other people to implement it,” I’m wary of — frequently because I think the process of idea-making relies on executing and failing or succeeding at the ideas, so that you can actually become better at coming up with ideas. It’s something you can learn. It’s a skill, like weightlifting. That failed; that worked; continue. You begin to learn how to make ideas. So if you are someone who can’t execute and all you can do is come up with ideas, how do you know if they are any good? You don’t really know if it’s a good idea until you’ve executed it. You need to understand the cost of execution and so on.
I probably liked this quote so much, because I can identify with it. I have an idea. I know how to implement it. So, here I am, giving it a shot, executing, and time will tell if it is any good or not. Remy is actually not the first idea I’ve executed on either, and in previous attempts, I’ve learned how to quantify what it really takes to put a project together. The time it takes, the skill level involved, what to think about, etc. I can definitely see how past experiences have influenced my execution this time around, in a positive way.
On to the chapter about Ann Winblad Cofounder, Open Systems and Hummer Winblad. It’s nice to see some women founders being interviewed. I’m always curious to see what their perspectives have been and if they differ from their male counterparts. The other female interviewee I’ve read so far is Caterina Fake, cofounder of Flickr. That was a really interesting chapter because Flickr started eons away from where it is today. In the interview she describes an experience where her cofounder, who happens to be her husband, was told not to bring ‘his wife’ to VC meetings. Lovely.