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blog.gkaindl.com » Scrapping Ideas

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Scrapping Ideas

Scrapping ideas

This week, I had the questionable pleasure to scrap not one, not two, but three of the ideas I’ve been playing with for a while. I don’t mean just random ideas that you think about for a minute and then decide to forget, but stuff I’ve actually invested some time into, for example, doing research on implementation possibilities, how to design a good user interface and the such. In short, I’ve put enough work into them to make it hurt to drop them now…

This gives rise to the question of how I have made the decision to drop them. I mean, obviously there was something about those ideas, because otherwise, I wouldn’t have worked on them for so long. Well, what made me drop them was that I felt that they were almost great, you know, this strange feeling were you think you are on to something, but you are still missing one piece of the puzzle. It feels like you just need to make a little change, and it would turn into an awesome idea.

However, that’s probably how you define the death of an idea, the feeling of it being almost great. It’s pretty much like when writing code: If you have code that almost works, the code that actually does work usually looks a lot different. It’s never just a little thing to change.

In fact, when you have an idea that’s almost great, you try to bend and twist it in various ways to put it into the best light. But that rarely ever works, it can, at best, turn into a mediocre, so-so idea. When you have a really good idea, it immediately feels right. It gives you this electrical, fuzzy feeling in your stomach… I didn’t feel it for these ideas.

Scrapping something you’ve already invested time into can hurt, but it hurts much more to have a finished product later that you don’t believe into. Don’t let yourself get trapped in a “Damn, I’ve already invested so much time into this, it has to become something” thinking. Just scrap it, enjoy having gained experience from playing with the idea and move on. The ability to scrap ideas after already having worked on them is an important part of the creative process. But yes, it kinda hurts a bit…

2 Comments

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    Justin
    wrote on Mar 16, 2007 at 16:02

    Hi Georg — good post. I went to a session at SXSW this past weekend with Jim Coudal and he talked about idea scrapping. One thing to do is to stick everything into a notebook of some sort. You never know when you might pull it back out again or some derivative of the idea.


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    georg
    wrote on Mar 16, 2007 at 19:10

    Good point! Actually, I’m already doing this with the excellent VoodooPad, where I have a special document in which I keep all the little ideas that come together. Additionally, once I’m starting to flesh an idea out, it gets “promoted” to having its own VP document. Depending on wether I’m still working on it or if it has been scrapped, I keep them in different folders.

    This way, I can do exactly that, and I’m in fact often coming back to old ideas, just to read through them again to maybe get some new inspiration.

About

Hi, how are you? My name is Georg Kaindl, and I'm a twenty-something from Vienna, Austria. During the day, I'm a CS student at the Vienna University of Technology, but at night, I turn into an independent software developer for the Macintosh platform, social nerd, lazy entrepreneur and intuitive researcher.

I like to write about everything that matters to considerate technology enthusiasts, but humbly retain the right to go off-topic from time to time.

My posts are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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