Scraperboard drawing by Bill Sanderson, 1997, via the Wellcome Library, London.

Innovation v. Execution ← Drama

Zigmars Rozentals
7 min readOct 30, 2017


What’s the point of coming up with great ideas without strong execution?

Today, it’s pretty obvious that ideas don’t make you rich, the correct execution does!

In fact, bright ideas aren’t worth a dime without execution.

I’m Zigmars Rozentals, a firm believer in execution — ideas are not just meant to sit in your head, you need to bring them to life in the best possible way. In this article, I’m going to explore the first out of five dramas or dramatical contradictions that founders, leaders and high-level executives face.

As you’ve probably guessed, the first drama that we’re going to discuss is Innovation v. Execution.

Today, it’s pretty easy to see someone screaming:

“Woo-hoo! I have a million dollar idea.”

Others might say: “I have an awesome idea! Therefore, I can create a startup.”

“Woo-hoo! I have a million dollar idea.”

Well, there’s no doubt that talking about ideas, sharing creative thoughts and brainstorming about future possibilities is crucial and inspiring. In fact, it’s one of the best things a group of creatives can spend quality time doing.


There’s a good chance of coming up with brilliant ideas when hanging out with the right people — you could even come up with a million dollar idea. However, you should know that it’s not just about having brilliant flashes of insight, it’s more about converting them to a groundbreaking reality.

I don’t know about you, but I believe that even brightest ideas and most creative thoughts are nothing but hot air if you’re clueless about how to transform them into a reality.

Even Gary Vaynerchuk Has the Same Belief

He’s a CEO and serial entrepreneur who you either love or hate thanks to his unique personality. One of the favorite quotes of this social media entrepreneur is,

“Ideas are shit without execution.”

Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk even has a poster of the quote in his office and never fails to point at it whenever people tell him “I have this idea,” “I have that idea.”

So what’s the point?

Well, it’s in your best interest to consider possible and realistic ways to execute those bright ideas the moment they come up — this is the only way to make a difference in your world.

Here’s the Reality

The truth is, the world is chock full of smart and highly motivated people who are hell-bent on achieving success. That being said, you should know that someone, somewhere may have already thought about your bright ideas and even tried them.

This is precisely why you need to break the habit of just coming up with the best ideas without taking focused action to bring them to life.

Ideas are intangible regardless of how the intellectual property law portray them to be something you can buy own or sell. I’m pretty sure you know that you cannot make a groundbreaking business from them without transforming them into a real product, and that’s precisely where things become difficult. The act of changing your idea from being an intangible thing to something real is way harder than coming up with the idea itself.

Big Things in the Tech Media

As a startup or aspiring entrepreneur, you’re likely to feel like you’re missing something when you hear huge success stories like Instagram sold to Facebook for $1 billion, new ICOs raising millions of dollars overnight, a tiny app with up to 20 million users sold to Google as well as other so-called success stories.

The one thing these successful companies have in common is the ability to transform ideas into world-conquering products that the public can’t do without.

Speaking of successful companies, let’s take a look at some of them that executed their ideas and made history.


Do you know that Apple wasn’t the first company to create a touchscreen device or even smartphone? In fact, iPhone and iPad weren’t inventions; they were incredible execution of ideas that had long existed. The late Jobs success wasn’t coming up with the big idea for a tablet computer or smartphone, others including Blackberry, Motorola, ASUS, Palm, Sony Ericsson and even Nokia had tried to do it long before Apple.

Steve Jobs 1955–2011

Steve Jobs’ success was that he and his highly skilled team collaborated and managed to execute on that idea to make it a groundbreaking success. Adding phone features to an iPod, implementing apps with later App Store it got right and captured the market which was not found of the other screen phones up until iPhone. The market accepted iPhone as the standard. For sure, there is an element of innovation, but that’s an awesome execution nevertheless!

Speaking of iPod, Mp3 players didn’t rise from the shores of Apple or Microsoft. Other companies like Sony, S3, and Creative were on the market sooner. Again, the thing is, Apple was the overall winner.

Asus P525 was released more than year before iPhone 1

Microsoft created video first on its devices, made them wireless and introduced legal music sharing. However, Apple kicked things up a notch by making it simple first and getting people to accept the iPod as a standard. Now, what do you call that? That superb execution!

The bottom line? All the excellent ideas were going around for years, but Apple executed them perfectly.


Most of us believe that Tesla was the first electric car to hit the market, but that’s not entirely true. Tesla only had what it takes to execute an ancient idea! In the nineteenth hundred, there were over 4000 cars produced in the United States and 1/3 were powered by electricity.

So, what’s the point? Well, you can even take a 100-year-old idea and transform it into something spectacular as long as you have what it takes to do it right!


Do you know that there are other companies that could have been Facebook? Well before Facebook, there was AOL,, Friendster and even MySpace! Facebook only surfaced in 2004 and had been leading ever since.

So, the big question is, “why is it so challenging to capture the market with a bright idea?”

The key is “correct execution”. Facebook executed the idea of connecting people on the cyberspace in the best way, and that’s exactly how it captured the market!


Do you think Dropbox was an invention? Well, think again.

It’s just an excellent execution of a bright idea. They only took FTP technology and incorporated great usability and interface features.

Moreover, Dropbox doesn’t own any storage servers. They’ve been using Amazon Web Services from day one.

Virgin Group

The brand run by the successful business magnate Richard Branson is also built on correct execution in already established industries like transportation, communication, entertainment and more.

Toyota v. General Motors

The Japanese automobile giant Toyota outperformed General Motors for several years because it had better execution in place.

Detroit, the Motor City, at it's Golden Age. Little did they know about the winds of change in the future. Photo by Flora Borsi

Besides, Toyota had a better understanding of its target customer base, its value proposition for products and price points and a better system to deliver its promise to customers.

There’s no doubt that the right execution is key.


Right now, we can agree that Starbucks has taken over the world of coffee, but I would bet that it wasn’t the first coffee shop! It only had a perfect execution in place to blow the competition out of the water.

It wasn’t the first coffee shop, but it is doing quite well.

The bottom line?

There are tons of big ideas out there, even like that of Tesla! But the thing is, most of them won’t be able to see the light of the day without the correct execution.

There’s no doubt that bright ideas are the fuel of creative life, but we still need to work a little bit harder to transform those ideas into a reality.

In a nutshell,

Innovation stands for — Do the right things


Execution stands for — Do things right

Just be sure to know when to follow one or another.

Don’t hesitate to drop me a line if there’s anything down the road that I can help you along your path to greatness. Good luck!



Zigmars Rozentals

Product Management. Customer focus. Impact. Consulting.