What is an idea worth?

What happens when you turn a Quora answer into a post?

I was asked to answer question on Quora by someone anonymous today:

I have a startup idea, I want to sell it because I dont have intial investment, if yes, then where can I find someone who is interested in buying my idea?

My response was:

I hate to break it to you but I don’t think anyone would pay to buy an idea. An idea is priceless, fragile but ultimately not an end to it self. An idea is a spark for something greater then itself. An idea lacking any execution is just a figment of imagination of what it could have been but not what it is.

The other part of it is, no idea is original. It’s still debated if Newton and Lebniz invented calculus. You’re idea is most likely not original and people have thought of it before. If your really interested in see’ing your idea work albiet in the hands of others, I encourage you to write about it on a blog or email and pass it around. Either of the two possible outcomes might happen:

1) You’d see the idea come to life and rejoice in being part of giving it birth and being part of the world.
2) You can get someone to invest their time with you to make it happen and spend years working on it. If your really into this idea, the journey itself will be a reward filled with ups, downs and hard lessons learned. Even if it ultimately does not work out, you will come out on the other side a changed person with battle scars to prove it.

Initial investment should not be a barrier to you trying out your idea. Expecting other people to give you money for something that’s unproven is unrealistic. Ask yourself if you are willing to put in money into the idea itself and what you need the money for. Is it to pay a developer? Find someone on Upwork to build it for cheaper then usual rates. Is it for advertising? Figure out how you can market without spending $10000's of dollars on ads. Is it to support yourself while you work on it full time? Do it during nights and evenings. Odds are the road ahead is tougher then you anticipated and a week or a month into it, you’ll be wondering what you should do and what have you gotten yourself into, itching to go back to work at a 9–5 job. If you don’t have money to invest, you have something more valuable then money, and thats your time. Often times great ideas come to people who observe the world, imagine possibilities. But the one’s who make it to the other side are obsessed to with making it happen.

Lastly but not least, great things happen with ideas come together and collide. So don’t keep it tight to your chest, share it openly and widely. The possible outcomes are infinite.

Feel free to leave comments and disagreements on the Quora thread or below.

Note: this response was inspired by Tina Seelig’s book that I am currently reading.