Scott Mace and I used to exchange ideas for businesses all the time. We called it the Business Idea of the Day (BIOTD). We were both paying close attention to startups while we were running our own little company on the side, and we were generating a great idea just about every other day.
We've long-since stopped exchanging these ideas since Scott is busy building his company, AppSling. Its too bad, because we really made a good team when it came to generating/vetting ideas. We were both driven 'wantrepreneurs' and we built neat software, its just that at the time we weren't brave enough to start selling it. That's a separate subject in itself, but lets just leave it at that: fear.
My calculations have changed. I am brave enough to build software and then ask people to pay money for it. It took quite a while to get there. More on that in an upcoming post. But, the idea-generation has been hard(er) lately. I'm not sure why. Perhaps its because I don't have Scott anymore. More likely, I've been sharing ideas with the wrong people.
People who aren't inclined to entrepreneurship have a hard time seeing the potential of any idea. I spent a couple of years trying to convince another buddy of mine I worked with at a big company to work on various side-business ideas with me. I could never break through. Either he felt that the idea wasn't good enough, or he just didn't have the level of interest in participating at the ground level. This kind of constant-zero-value feedback from others has a net-negative affect on your ability and willingness to generate ideas and build products.
When they say bad friends can drag you down, its also true of entrepreneurship. A super-driven entrepreneur friend can fuel your fire to build products. A friend that poo-poohs every idea tends to extinguish your flame. I guess I'm saying that if you're driven, you might want to keep your ideas to yourself, lest you lose steam from interacting with negative people.
I do have about 5 ideas in my queue that I feel good about and that I want to share with someone, but I'm not sure I will. I think from now on, I'm going to wait to talk about ideas until after they get built. At which point, I'll have something interesting to say about the true potential of the idea. Until then, mum's the word.