Idea Person vs. Execution Master
by Seni Sangrujee on January 31, 2011I have a lot of entrepreneurial friends and get together with them every few months over beer or coffee to talk about our latest projects or to brainstorm new ideas.
Often the conversation turns introspective as we notice patterns among ourselves. Many of us fall into entrepreneur archetypes that we call the Idea Person or the Execution Master.
Most people are familiar with the Idea Person. This is the person with a million ideas for a startup running through their heads at any given time. Every time you run into them they're convinced their latest idea is the big hit. Their biggest problem seems to be picking one idea and focusing on it without getting distracted by the Next Big Thing.
On the other hand, the Execution Master is the 10x Productive Engineer with an entrepreneurial bent. On a team, they'll take a rough concept and have a prototype or MVP ready before you've even fully fleshed out the idea. I sometimes think of them as Execution Monsters because of the inhuman rate at which they build things compared to their peers as if they're operating at a different clock speed.
"I Don't Have Any Good Ideas"But the weird thing is that often the next time I run into an Execution Master working solo, they still haven't built anything. In my head I'm thinking, "You're 10 times the programmer that I am, but my side project apps are up to 450,000 downloads, and you're still talking about making your first app like you've been for the past year. A common theme is that they don't have any good ideas, although I suspect that it might be that they don't have confidence in the ideas that they have.
If an Idea Person and an Execution Master teams up, they can often crush it since their skillsets are so complementary, but I've noticed that it's surprisingly hard to try matchmaking and pairing up an Idea Person and Execution Master. That's a topic for another post, though.
Sometimes you'll find a person who is both an Idea Person and an Execution Master, and, in that case it's often best to just get the frak out of the way and occasionally bring them coffee.
Other TypesAnother entrepreneur archetype is the Chameleon, who will take on the role of Idea Person or Execution Master depending on those around him/her. Sometimes they'll take on a particular role to blend in with the others or will take the opposite role to fulfill the need on a team.
Yet another is the Poseur or Wantrepreneur, who is more concerned about being part of the startup scene than actually starting a company. No one talks about Wantrepreneurs because, deep down, most of us are afraid to admit that we're neither an Idea Person nor an Execution Master and, sadly, fall into this category.