Why Ideas Are Like Eggs

November 26, 2014

Eggs. If you are just starting to learn how to cook, they are probably the first thing you will try your luck at. From hard-boiled to scrambled, deviled to fried, everyone has their own special way of preparing eggs. Still, the unique aspect of eggs is that although they are relatively simple cook, it’s quite difficult to perfect.

Ideas are much the same. Everyone can have think up an idea, but executing it and producing positive results is difficult. There plenty of books out there that talk about ideas, but just how there are many recipes on how to make the ‘perfect’ egg, its less about the steps and more on the detail of the execution.

Paying Attention To Detail

English mathematician and philosopher, Alfred North Whitehead once said that “we think in generalities, but we live in detail.” His words not only resonate in our daily lives, but they also paint a clear picture of how ideas are formed and evolve. Too often do we assume that having the ‘right idea’ is all it takes that we forget that it’s the details that make an idea relevant and impactful. To fully understand this, we re-visit the egg comparison.

As mentioned, eggs are one of the first things that someone whose just starting out will learn how to cook because of they are quick and simple. If you were to tell someone how to make a fried egg for example, you would tell them to heat a frying pan, add oil, crack an egg and add it to the frying pan. From a purely basic process outline, those steps are correct. While correct, what’s missing is the details on how to make it ‘perfect.’ Depending on the degree of detail that is put into the instructions, as well as execution, the outcome will be directly related to it. More details will produce better results while less will yield poor ones.

The Facebook Comparison

Everyone is looking to be the next Facebook. Trying to be the next ‘lighting in a bottle,’ those looking to replicate and surpass Facebook must not only understand their current state, but also how they got there in the first place.

Although there are many reasons for their success, Facebook succeeded in part because of their close attention to detail which thus improved the quality of their product. Where social networks like Friendster and MySpace failed, Facebook’s diligence toward detail ensured that the same mistakes wouldn’t be made. In perspective, anyone can create a social network, but not everyone can make the ‘perfect’ one.

Facebook’s business has been well documented leaving little unknown, yet their have been hundreds of attempts at creating the next social network with little success.

Facebook reaffirms the notion that it’s less about the steps and more on the detail of the execution.

Thomas Edison said it best when he stated that “the value of an idea lies in the using of it.” We all have ideas, but the quality of it and the impact that it will have ultimately lies in the execution and details.

Remember, everyone can prepare an egg. They are simple and easy.

Few can prepare the ‘perfect egg.’

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