My method is different. I do not rush into actual work. When I get an idea I start at once building it up in my imagination. I change the construction, make improvements and operate the device in my mind. It is absolutely immaterial to me whether I run my turbine in thought or test it in my shop. I even note if it is out of balance. There is no difference whatever, the results are the same. In this way I am able to rapidly develop and perfect a conception without touching anything. When I have gone so far as to embody in the invention every possible improvement I can think of and see no fault anywhere, I put into concrete form this final product of my brain. Invariably my device works as I conceived that it should, and the experiment comes out exactly as I planned it. In twenty years there has not been a single exception. Why should it be otherwise? Engineering, electrical and mechanical, is positive in results. There is scarcely a subject that cannot be mathematically treated and the effects calculated or the results determined beforehand from the available theoretical and practical data. The carrying out into practice of a crude idea as is being generally done is, I hold, nothing but a waste of energy, money and time.
Matt Gemmell on the classic question How do you get your ideas, or the relation between reading, writing, and the idea-flow:
The corresponding answer is usually something like “they just come to me”, but it’s a half-truth. We all know that, deep down. The reality is more prosaic: your outlook alters, such that everything is an idea. In the same way that a former spy can never fully switch off their vigilance, a writer’s imagination just becomes perpetually active.
Reading is what makes it possible – you have to read in order to be able to write – but you have to write to actually activate this shift in perspective. It happens fast: within days. The problem isn’t ever finding ideas; it’s filtering them.
Reading is important, even if you are not a writer yourself. Finding time for reading long form –books, long articles, etc.– is crucial, even if it seems to be increasingly difficult.
In his essay Before the Startup, YCombinator’s founder Paul Graham explains that because startups are counterintuitive, you can’t always trust your instincts when starting a startup. Then he gives a list of 5 things you can do to prepare yourself for the task.
For example, where to get ideas for a startup? Not by making an effort to think of startup ideas, but by (1) learning a lot about things that matter, then (2) work on problems that interest you (3) with people you like and respect.
The whole essay is worth reading.
¿Has tenido un proyecto en mente, o una buena idea y que además te parece potente, pero pasa el tiempo y no pasa nada, no te lanzas a empezar? Un buen artículo de Merlin Mann sobre las barreras reales, externas e infranqueables que nosotros mismos inventamos. Fake Rocks, Salami Commanders, and Just Enough to Start