As I’ve gotten older, I’ve tried to work on a few things about myself that aren’t healthy. I was a notorious grudge-holder when I was younger, and somewhere along the line I lost my ability to be as patient with people as I used to be. Another thing I’ve tried to hone is my perception of stuff. By that, I mean…see things for what they are. Situations, people, and in particular: ideas. I’m an idea guy. I like to observer stuff and try and figure out what the idea was that begat the execution.
Us music nerds (songwriters in particular) will recognize this. If there is one thing that will contribute to a lack of sanity among musicians, it’s the annoying distance between idea and execution. You come up with a melody in your head and then you try to quickly get an instrument in your hand or some way to capture it so you don’t lose it.
Spoiler alert: You almost always lose it. It’s criminal, it’s cruel, and will drive you mental. I used to hear riffs in my head almost constantly. I got to the point where I made up my own tablature so I could write it and play it later. It saved my butt when we were writing our second album.
Many times (in my cynical age…) I’ve looked at things and thought “nice idea, bad execution”. I suppose you could also labor that into the oft-used “The path to hell is paved with good intentions” if you wanted to do some metaphoric yoga. But I digress…
There are many, many examples I could cite here. Hell, even Enron was a good idea on paper. Once they started finding festering pustules of greed everywhere it didn’t take too long before people started cashing out or committing suicide. I guess the rats don’t leave the grain bins willingly.
I have potential clients come to me all the time with their billion dollar idea. Believe me, I’m the last guy to try and quash someone’s enthusiasm, but when you say you want me to build a mobile app for ordering pizza from the nearest place, that’s a bad idea that can’t really be helped with good execution. Conversely, a portal that saves your clients about 12 hours a week by automatically generating a simple, visual report is a kickass idea that we knocked out of the park on the execution.