Chase good ideas, not successful products.

2 min readSep 12, 2022

Success is not validation of a good idea. At best, it’s a necessary condition. There are lots of people with good ideas who never find validation, and lots of people with bad ideas who become rich & famous.

Cigarettes are a good example. They’re one of the most successful consumer products in history. However, breathing in a lungful of cancer-causing smoke a number of times each day is unquestionably a bad idea. That said, a small minority has become obscenely wealthy from tobacco at the great expense of others.

This false belief that popularity equals success leads to a lot of wasted effort. If you want to be successful, you have to focus on making something great. A good idea that is genuinely solving a pain point for people. The two are often conflated, but they’re very different things.

The belief that popularity is success also leads to a lot of bad ideas being validated. If you can just get enough people to like your idea, you can get funding, users and attract a lot of press. This isn’t very different from how pyramid scheme inherently work, and it’s how a lot of startups end up being nothing more than frauds. Devouring VC money and burning through users’ goodwill until the whole thing collapses in on itself.

Chasing good ideas might not necessarily get your project covered on TechCrunch or make you a billionaire, but it’s a lot more likely to lead to something great.

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