fighting brain crack


Brain Crack is bad, mmkay.

I’ve had a similar conversations with Tom many a times, He’ll chime in, I’m sure, but the two of us are very different when it comes to ideas and execution. He enjoys having them, even if he doesn’t act on them or observes from side lines. I do not, either act on it or drop it.

Brain crack, according to Ze are the ideas you have, that you never act on (so they can’t fail) that you keep rattling around as your “When I have time” ideas. The trouble is, there’s no time like the present, if it’s a good idea, do it. Don’t wait around, who’s to say you’ll ever have the time? All you end up doing is refining the idea in your head, until it’s perfect and you’re make believe successful.

I think as an entrepreneur brain crack is especially dangerous, it gives you a false sense of security, “Well come what may, I have this idea to work on.” or “I’ll write when there’s more time later in life.” except there’s no way to know what “Later” will hold. The other downside to brain crack is, it’s distracting. Why work on the hard or boring things, when you can day dream or putter on an idea you have no (let’s be honest) intention of ever pulling out of your head and putting into the real world.

I’m all for instant gratification, and the high you get from doing something. As I do more and more startup’y type things, I find more and more ideas bubble up. If I can start working on them, I do. If they’re not something I can do, they go away, or get recorded, either way, out of my head and off the table. Good or bad, and Ze is right, usually bad, it’s better to throw something out there and do it, than plan and plan, until the time to execute has passed. But at least your idea is safe in your head, where no one can hurt it.

Don’t let brain crack ruin your life.

12 Responses to “fighting brain crack”

  • Harry B. Garland Says:

    Yeah, and let me also mention that in software especially, most ideas are totally worthless after 5 years because by then the problems that need solving are completely different. Almost any software idea that was valuable to spend time building back then is now open-source and free to everybody now. (That's why y'gotta prioritize.)

  • Jeffry Houser Says:

    GettingThings Done recommend having a "tickler" file for these type of ideas. The idea is that you get them out of your head to review at some later date.

    I tend to disagree that ideas should just be thrown out completely. For example, I want to build a game some day. It won't happen anytime soon, but there is no reason to give up on it.

    • John Wilker Says:

      Well the Tickler is something different. The idea is that you put it in a tickler file and get it off your mind, to focus on other things. I think Brain crack is keeping it on your mind, in the background, but never executing. Coming back to the tickler in a year and busting out a game, is perfect. When it was time it got CPU cycles, that it was due, and wasn't stealing from others.

      • Jeffry Houser Says:

        Unless I'm really confused, l would say that a tickler file is a way to avoid brain crack by getting that idea out of your brain in the short term.

        Not to say some ideas shouldn't be chucked all together of course.

        • John Wilker Says:

          Right, that's what I'm saying (Maybe not clearly, LOL) the tickler is a good solution to brain crack because it gets the idea out of your head, which is (if I understand Ze's point) the big point.

  • Jeffry Houser Says:

    I tend to disagree here. The success of an idea is in the implementation, not the actual idea. Just because someone else built it doesn't mean you can't do a better job or fill a different niche than their previous project.

    • John Wilker Says:

      True, very true. But it's definitely more of a challenge IMO. first movers get a bit more lee way on things not being super great, so long as they show improvement. The next guy is expected to really "WOW" the masses, there's less room for "Well he'll improve later" for the 2nd and 3rd guys to market.

  • Joeflash Says:

    I've got more than a few ideas running around in my head… so I'm VERY guilty of brain crack, LOL. "But, but… I've been writing THE MOTHER OF ALL FLEX BOOKS for over a year now, how can I have time to build anything in my spare time?", I ask myself. "Well, don't write so damn much, for one, or don't work so many hours in the week", I tell myself. Easier said than done.

    Though I have let go of some brain crack: still own the domain, from when Flash 8 came out and you could do low level bitmap manipulations for the first time — I thought it would be cool to create a virtual "zen garden" creation tool, and you would be able to export the image for your desktop. But that ship has sailed, so I think I'll sell the domain to this Ukrainian who's been bugging to buy it off me. If anyone else wants the idea, go for it.

    That aside, some ideas need to stay private until they're ready to hatch, even if you are working on them. (Is fighting brain crack just building your ideas, or is it telling people about them while you're doing them, I'm confused.)

    I mean, look what happened to Saffron: massive build-up, guy lectures around the world about it — and then he disappears off the face of the planet (AFAIK) and still no one has seen a beta! There's brain crack, and then there's premature Flashturbation, if you know what I mean. I'd rather have brain crack then be the Flexer who cried wolf.

  • How to Fail | Our Start Up Story Says:

    […] so easy to do. It’s brain crack to plan and analyze and never […]