Be Prolific

Light Up IdeaYou’re waiting for that one idea.

That one great big shiny idea.

The one idea that will blow up beyond your wildest imagination and lets you turn to some investors and cooly say, “Sure I’ll sell…for a BILLION dollars or so” while cooly gesturing with your hand while watching them not even bat an eye because they’re know it’s worth at least two billion.

One day it will come. In the meantime, you wait.

You’re doing it wrong.

I hate to be the one to break it to you.

You will not just have a perfect Billion dollar idea happen to you.

You’re human. You’re not perfect. So stop trying to have the perfect idea.

Instead be prolific.  

When you’re prolific, the goal isn’t to create a single perfect golden idea directly from conception. You have to create, create, and create some more in order to whittle away at the gorge of ideas you have until one finally begins to emerge as one that’s worth doing..

Don’t create perfection. Become prolific.

How To Become Prolific

If you can’t come up with a perfect idea, try becoming prolific. Here’s a few good steps to get you started:

  1. Come up with a dozen terrible ideas.
  2. Make them better.
  3. Build them.
  4. Ship them.
  5. Come up with a dozen more ideas.
  6. Build them again.
  7. Try them out in the wild.
  8. See what happens.
  9. Repeat

When you’re prolific, one bad idea is enough to start. The point is to practice action. To practice launching. To execute.

Your ideas might be bad, but you can still practice your execution every single day. Slowly, you prune away the ones that aren’t worth pursuing and you continue creating. You continually take action.

Over time, the massive action that you take slowly but surely molds your terrible ideas into slightly less terrible ideas. Eventually they become something mediocre and then maybe…just maybe…something great.

And who knows? One day, you might get struck with a Billion dollar idea, that’d be nice. But it’s a lot more likely to happen if you practice creating every day and learn to execute consistently because you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you.

Don’t be perfect. Be prolific.


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  1. Tina says

    Once again Joel, AWESOME!~~ All this encouraging advice that I am receiving is building a stockpile in my head! I agree with Vic! It has to come OUT!~ One of my favorite quotes is “If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got!”~~ I guess it’s time to ROCK-n-ROLL…. Thank you!

  2. says

    Prolific is a great word for the innovation / business creation process. I’d also suggest a compliment to that, which is to be immersed. Immersion in an industry, topic, or idea is a powerful way to acquire the insight to truly improve and evolve something. It’s one thing to be an outsider and assume solutions; but once you’ve immersed yourself in to an industry space, it’s amazing how little even the most well-regarded experts understand all the moving parts. From there, business opportunities flourish.

    Thanks for the insight, Joel.

  3. Rick Thomas says

    Great post. I just discovered Google Reader (better late than never haha) and subscribed to your blog among others. I occasionally need to be reminded that ideas are easy, it’s the execution that’s hard. Cheers!

  4. says


    This was hands down the best thing that I read all week. It’s an important lesson for many people and one that they dont’ teach in school. Maybe you should write the forward to my book if I get a book deal ;).

  5. says

    Great post, Joel. (Do you get sick of hearing that?!) I’m all for being prolific. The one thing I would add — as someone who has been on the receiving end of some truly DREADFUL presentations and proposals — is that when you’re making a professional presentation, it IS important to aim for excellence. Not perfection. Excellence. If you want someone to invest in your idea with $10 or $10 billion, it’s important to present it well.

  6. says

    Awesome! My own site is based on this principle, and now I feel like stealing this great post for my About page.

    By far you learn the most from doing.
    Being prolific is doing more than anybody else around. This makes you learn faster than anyone else around.
    Soon you ‘know’ more AND ‘do’ more than the rest.
    = unstoppable.

    Thanks Joel


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