I’ve never come across this quote before, and it’s a stellar one from the late, great Mary Kay Ash:
Ideas are a dime a dozen, but the men and women who implement them are priceless.
I have had the fortune and misfortune of working with, partnering with, and befriending a fair number of “idea people” over my 20+ year career now. For better or worse, I love “idea folks”. They’re creative, deeply knowledgeable about the arenas they love, and they’ve generally got more passion than an entire roomful of business folks with MBAs 😉 .
“Idea folks” seem to fall into two buckets. The first bucket consists of the folks who understand that the vast majority of ideas need to get past (sometimes well past) the idea stage in order to actually be valuable. At some point, the proverbial rubber must hit the proverbial road. The second bucket consists of (as you’ve already guessed) the folks who think that the mere contemplation of an idea creates pure value. These folks tend to have a tough go of their business life since there’s something fundamentally broken in their understanding of the commercial world.
When I meet and talk to first-time entrepreneurs, I try to ascertain where the meter sits for them along these two dimensions of ideas and implementation. There are great entrepreneurs who haven’t had an original idea in their lives. The best entrepreneurs (IMO/IME) are great idea folks and great implementers. The folks who are great idea folks but can’t implement have an uphill climb to become great entrepreneurs.