Q&A: Why is It So Difficult to Transition from Having a Good Idea to Being a Commercial Success?
I recently saw a clip from a lecture by Ed Catmull, the former president of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. During the talk, he said something that really struck a chord with me. He said, “If you have a good idea and give it to a mediocre group, they’ll screw it up. If you give a mediocre idea to a good group, they’ll fix it or they’ll throw it away and come up with something else.”
And he would know. Ed Catmull is the man behind some of the most innovative ideas that made your favorite childhood movies possible. He came up with both the rendering technology used by movies like Toy Story and Finding Nemo and the digital image compositing tech used by Lucasfilm in the creation of the Star Wars movies.
I think it’s safe to say that Catmull knows a thing or two about good ideas, and his experience working in the industry shows us that the difference between success and failure is execution. I don’t care if you have the best idea in the world. It doesn’t mean anything if you can’t execute it.
Basically, there’s no such thing as a “billion-dollar idea” because great idea in the hands of someone who doesn’t know what to do with it or isn’t willing to put the effort into it is worthless.
On that note and given the work that Catmull did on the Star Wars films, I think it’s appropriate to end this answer on a relevant quote from everyone’s favorite Jedi Master:
“Do or do not. There is no try.”