After years of following him online, I finally got a chance to meet Godard Abel yesterday at the SaaStr Annual Conference.  Godard is a serial successful entrepreneur, having built and sold numerous companies after taking the kernel of an idea and making it a scalable, profitable reality.

His latest company, G2 Crowd, is on a similar path – quickly growing in scale and impact amongst B2B customers worldwide.

Our discussion yesterday focused on the concept of ideas – why they are important and why they often fail.

In a nutshell, Godard quickly enumerated two big reasons why most ideas fail:

  1. Many people have the same idea.  Ideas aren’t scarce, nor are they often unique.  Key to success is effectively translating that idea into something the market wants and will pay for.  Ideas are easy, execution is by far the hard part.
  2. Your first idea is probably wrong.  According to Godard, the idea is merely an excuse to start.  Once you expose that idea to the market with something practical and accessible, you learn a ton about whether your idea has legs and can scale, or whether you need to adjust your thinking to make it scalable.

Godard says that the ability to listen and accept critical feedback is crucial to taking your idea and making it your customer’s manifestation of that idea.  Rarely are those two things the same up front.  Unfortunately, many founders and entrepreneurs stay so focused on their initial idea, failing to adjust to market feedback, and their opportunity stalls out of the gate.

I’d highly recommend joining me at Revenue Summit on March 1st in San Francisco where Godard will be talking more on stage about ideas, entrepreneurship and what it takes to build scalable, customer-centric businesses.  Use this link to register and enter the code HEINZ at check-out to get 20 percent off your registration fee.