Do you have any “bad” ideas?

I just got a question from a podcast listener.  Brad from California asks:  “Dan, I hear you share about all your good ideas.  Do you ever have a bad idea?”

I had to pick myself up off the floor after laughing so hard.  Do I ever have a bad idea – oh yeah.  About 10 times a day.  And you know why?  I don’t know of any way to get to the good ideas without going through a whole lot of bad ones.  If you are waiting to share or experiment with an idea until you have a perfect one, chances are strong that 10 years from now you’ll still be waiting.

“If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” — Albert Einstein

Most people are afraid of good or bad ideas.  Good ideas require change and that’s intimidating.  Bad ideas make us look foolish or stupid, or waste time and money.

But take a look around you.  Anyone who is doing something great had a lot of bad ideas to get to where they are today.  I don’t know of any exceptions.   If you haven’t “failed” recently or had a bad idea, success will likely elude you as well.

Yes, I have bad ideas – lots of them.  I’ve failed with writing ideas, seminar ideas, product ideas, and employee ideas.   Perhaps I should track them for a time period.  I suspect my ratio is about 15 bad ideas for every 1 that has real potential.

My advice:  Welcome your “bad” ideas.  They are your friends.  Treat them with the love and respect they deserve.

“Nothing is more dangerous than an idea when it is the only one you have.” – Emile Chartier

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64 Responses to “Do you have any “bad” ideas?”

  1. Josh Bulloc Says:

    If you are not having bad ideas you are not pushing yourself hard enough.

    Josh Bulloc
    Kansas City, MO

  2. Glenda Says:

    So, I’m guessing over the years, you get pretty good at weeding out the “bad ideas” before you share them. But, I’m also wondering, is there a certain methodology that you use to submit the idea to the public wherein you have the least amount of $$ or time investment in something that isn’t going to work?

    I’ve figured out that simply sharing my ideas with a pool of people for feedback isn’t the right path. Although, it does help me to formulate a better product, but it doesn’t get me anywhere close to knowing if it will be a “good idea” that sells or not.

    I think that might be because of market. Most good ideas are only going to success when directed to a particular market, and my informal polls are touching on too broad a category of people.


  3. Dan Miller Says:

    Glenda – my business model has 7 distinct areas of revenue. So I can “try” an idea without putting my entire business at risk. I may seek quick feedback from people but for the most part I just launch an idea and see what the reality is in the marketplace.

  4. Bibledebt Says:

    I am working on getting through my first batch of bad ideas so I can enjoy the good idea. Thank you for your motivation to keep failing so we can eventually have a great success!

  5. Monday musings (on Thursday 8-5-2010) « Jim's Blog Says:

    […] Do you have any bad iseas? by author of “48 Days To The Job You Love.” […]

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    A fantastic book revealing the Disney method of stirring up and proceeding with ideas is The Imagineering Way. The Imagineers are the creative folks who come up with all the fun stuff at Disney World and Disneyland!!

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