On ideas

There are two kinds of ideas.* There are ideas that other people should do and there are ideas you do yourself.

Everyone has lots of ideas for other people. Advice is nearly free; it’s easy to spend other people’s time and money. It’s even easier to spend the public’s.

Ideas for yourself have a more rigorous filter. What can I do? Well, I can easily write a blog post. But as they say, talk is cheap.

I might think the US should explore Mars, but unless I am a multi-billionaire,** there is not a lot I can do on my own to push that forward. Even if I were, or donated to the Mars Society, I am still not the astronaut or engineer or mechanic or factory worker who makes it all possible.

But idea generation should not be all “put up or shut up”. I still might have a useful idea for you (I am convinced I do, as a professor of ideas and doctor of philosophy, when asked what I do, I say “I profess”), that is better than the idea you have for yourself.

I do have a useful idea for you,  you should definitely discount other people’s ideas about how to spend your time and efforts, only you can prioritize for yourself.


* There are two kinds of people, those who divide the world into two kinds of people and those who don’t.

** Or as Howard Schultz would say, person with multiple billions of dollars.