An Idea Is All You Need

   Posted by: Shantanu Goel   in Uncategorized

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Everyone wants to make a name for himself. Everyone wants to do something new and extra-ordinary. People like me (read software engineers) want to develop “something” cool. BUT, the stage where most of them go wrong is the very first one. Most of them think that the road to develop something cool starts from a particular “language” or a tool. But I beg to differ. I say the first stage is “The Idea”.

Most of my friends and others around me think that having a particular skill set is very important to develop something the world hasn’t seen till now. And for this they end up reading through piles of books, which claim to make them a master in C, C++, PHP, Python, Web 2.0 and what not. This is all OK, but the problem is, when they have gone through the books, done all the exercises, made all the samle projects, then they have a question in their minds “Now What”?

What I think is that this question should have been asked in the very beginning of the journey. And it should have been answered by the occurrence of a new idea.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for reading books, developing skill sets, learning new technologies, etc. But the only point I want to make is that all this is a “means” to give your “idea” a shape. They are not where your story begins. What if you spent a lot of time acquiring perl skills and then when (and if) you get your brilliant idea, you find out that the best way to implement it would be using C. Are you back to square one? No. Skills acquired are never a waste. “Concepts” developed can easily be applied to the new tool that you have to use.

But one more thing, its again not a hard rule that now you should just sit in your chair all day long and keep thinking. I bet its much harder to get the idea stream flowing that way. Ideas don’t have a pattern that they follow while coming into your mind. They may come to you any place unexpected (I get most of mine while bathing 😉 ).

But there is something you can do to ensure that your brain gets accustomed to recognize an idea when you do get it. So, while you are reading through that book on C programming, don’t just get engrossed in typing out the exact source code that’s fed to you. “Think” about whether is that enough? Can you make some modification to it so that it becomes more efficient? Can you tweak it a bit to do more than its already doing?

Keep your eyes open when you go around your daily chores. Think when you open your door whether wouldn’t it be nice if the door could recognize you are there and open itself. There’s your idea. And while you are at it, think wouldn’t it be even nicer if your home would have poured you a cool drink itself when you enter it?

Now, tell me whether you would like to wait to think about these ideas till you read the book’s epilogue, or do you want to start thinking now?

[tags]tip, idea, languages, concepts, programming[/tags]

© Shantanu Goel | An Idea Is All You Need

Quote of the day: "Human beings may not be perfect, but a computer program with language synthesis is hardly the answer to the world's problems." - JC Denton

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This entry was posted on Saturday, April 12th, 2008 at 9:13 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 comments so far


Shantanu, Very interesting post. However, I beg to differ. I think ‘creators’ (read: software engineers, designers, product designers, coders) place too much emphasis on the ‘idea.’ I believe an idea is only 20% of the work – teh real challenge and reward is in how you execute the idea. A very literal example is, the idea of internet search. Other search engines have been around longer than google. When google came into picture, the idea of search wasn’t revolutionary, it is how they executed the idea.
After a while and after seeing as many young businesses start and fail as I have, the novelty of the idea really wears off.

April 24th, 2008 at 10:06 am
Pooja Gupta

Well knitted post again Shantz!!

Agreed 60%..We Indians need to think more..But like Jinah said, execution is equally important..

Indians many times lack the much needed discipline needed in both thoughts and action to succesfully complete the project!

April 24th, 2008 at 9:54 pm

Jinal, Pooja: I agree with what you said about execution being very important but I still disagree that an Idea is just 20%.
lets take Google’s example only. What you call execution, I call it an Idea. It was google’s unique idea of finding out which pages matter the most for particular terms, and later on they also had so many other ideas to augment the “normal search”. The execution part was how also very important, but I would say they wouldn’t have anything to execute in the first place without the idea.
And if they hadn’t thought of smthing new, and carried on with the existing thought process behind search, they would have never become successful as they are now, even if they executed it to perfection.

April 26th, 2008 at 2:27 pm
Pooja Gupta

I guess with big shots like google, perfection is acheived both in terms of the wonderful idea as well as its excellent execution with no compromises..!

Indian brains too give great ideas, most of the times the courage to implement the same is missing!

April 29th, 2008 at 4:59 pm

Pooja: You hit the nail on the head about relationship between courage about implementing ideas and Indians.

April 30th, 2008 at 3:45 pm

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