By April 16, 2015

Why Your Million Dollar Idea Is Worthless

In this video, I talk about why I think some multimillion dollar ideas are worthless, and how some crappy ideas are worth millions.


Full transcript:

John: Hey, this is John Sonmez from and today I want to tell you why your million dollar idea is worthless.

So that’s right. Every time that I’m talking with people especially at developer events there’s inevitably someone’s million dollar idea comes up or their multimillion dollar now since I guess a million dollar isn’t going to do you that much, right? So, I’m always talking to people and don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of developers out there that I talk to that have great ideas and I agree that they are million dollar ideas, they’re 10 million dollar ideas if they could be executed on.

See that’s where the key is is so many people have – I mean I can probably pull out a notebook right now and start writing down million dollar ideas just out of my head that I’ve never thought of before and I’m sure you could do the same. Pretty much all of us could do that because there’s a lot of ideas out there that could be potentially million dollar or 10 million dollar ideas.

But there’s also a lot of crappy ideas that if executed on perfectly could also be 10 million dollar ideas. So that’s what the key is. I mean have you ever bought – you know what comes to mind is a – what is it called? Snuggy or Snuggly? That stupid blanket that you put on and it’s ridiculous, right, but that’s probably a 50 million dollar idea but stupid, it really is a stupid idea but it was executed on extremely well. They did these infomercials, they got distribution, they figured out how to sell – mass market this product that probably isn’t really good at all. I bought a lot of products like that. Whenever we’re going out to the mall my wife is always got to stop me from going in to the “as seen on TV” store. I get sucked into those stupid products and every single time that I buy one of those I think they’re going to be awesome and they end up sucking. Something I – I can’t figure out what it is. It seems like – how could this possibly be bad? This thing is going to allow me to microwave eggs and make perfect omelets. I didn’t think that it would be so hard to clean up or that it would leak out of the thing or whatever it ends up being.

I’m sidetracking a little bit here but my point is is that a lot of people with crappy ideas end up making a lot of money but a lot of people with good ideas end up with zilch because what they do is they spend so much time talking about their ideas and they’re so protective. I mean I’ve had people that have in the middle of a conversation they wanted me to sign an NDA. I’m thinking, okay, you don’t seem to understand. How many businesses have you built? How much money have you made? Because if you had built businesses you realized that you could give your idea freely out to everyone. You could just announce your idea publicly and the chances of anyone actually doing it would be slim to none no matter how good that idea is. Execution is so rare.

Really the point of this video is not to attack your idea. I’m sure you have great ideas. If you’ve talked to me in the past and you think I’m talking directly to you, well, I’m sorry, I don’t mean to directly offend you, but I have to tell you and I probably didn’t tell you in person because I was probably trying to not get into an argument there, but I’ll tell you now. What I’ll tell you is that your million dollar idea requires execution. That’s the one thing that I’ve learned from being a professional developer becoming an entrepreneur building my own business is that execution is key.

You can take a crappy idea with excellent execution and make a lot of money. If you take a great idea and you just have a decent amount of execution you’re going to be able to build a business from that. Execution is the hard part. It takes time. It takes persistence. It takes a lot of work to execute on an idea and the reason why that most people don’t ever succeed is because they never get to that point. They think that they need a good idea, but what they really need is good execution.

Hopefully that helps you. If you’ve got a million dollar idea the best thing that you can do is to try and execute on that. How can you actually build it? Stop talking about it and start doing it. Then you’ll see where the hard part is. Once you’ve done this a couple of times then you’ll find that what I’m saying is true that a lot of people have million dollar or 10 million dollar ideas but very few people execute on those ideas.
So that’s it for this video. If you would like me to answer your video or if you’ve got a topic idea, just email me at and don’t forget to subscribe to the channel or share it with your friends especially if you’ve got some friends that just keep telling you about their million dollar ideas. Well, instead of you being the bad guy, you can make me the bad guy. Just share the video to them. Send them a link to this, say, “Hey, what do you think about what this guy has to say?” All right. Take care. I’ll talk to you next time.


About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."