The importance of externalizing ideas

In: entrepreneur| ideas

28 May 2009

I had lunch with a friend today to share ideas and discuss starting new businesses. We often get together to bounce ideas off one another, and try to define some actions we can put behind these ideas. One of the many benefits of having someone to discuss ideas with regularly is that it forces you to distill your thoughts into something shareable, something that someone other than you can understand, without having to provide a lot of backstory about yourself and your experiences each time.

We also got into a conversation about writing, and creative outlets. Writing can serve much the same purpose, in that it forces you to externalize what is going on in your head. Throughout the creative process, you’ll often realize something new, or find a real-world example that illustrates what you’re trying to say. This example could be a similar business, which you could then study as a guide to what works and what doesn’t.

Let’s suppose you have an idea for a website that caters to the cycling community. When you describe it to someone else, you might use the example “sort of like Facebook, but just for cyclists.” By studying Facebook, you can then see what they do right to create a sense of community and generate interactions between users, and what it is about Facebook you don’t like. Without explaining the concept, or writing about it, you may never have made the Facebook parallel. Now you have something to help you along.

Having an outlet is just as important for the process as it is for the final result. So even if you’re writing a blog no one reads, or recording a video you never plan to share, sometimes it is the process of creation itself that is important.

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Mark Webster

About Mark Webster

One of the Co-Founders of SideTour, former TechStar (NYC Summer 2011), ex-NBA'er, and past TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon Winner.