Readers, I hope you don’t mind. I get lured into LinkedIn answers sections these days, and I was browsing there when this exchange came up. I really think it’s worth sharing.

The question was:

Any suggestions for someone with notebooks full of possibly novel storefront business, product and Web 2.0 ideas but no entrepreneurial experience to assess which idea to pursue first?

And the answer, coming from Nina Yablock (I don’t know her at all, but I really like her answer. Her blog is at

Jonathan, I’d add to Steve’s answer by saying “the easiest,” which would include least expensive because finding and tying up money is difficult. But also the one that you can do with the least outside help.

But if you have, as you say, notebooks full of ideas, here’s how I suggest you decide. It’s Tuesday afternoon. Put away the notebooks, don’t look at them today and all of tomorrow. Don’t write down any more ideas. Pay attention to other things. Tomorrow night, put a pen and paper near your bed.

Then, Thursday a.m. when you wake up, write down the three to five ideas that come to mind first thing, even before you get out of bed. Take those three to five ideas and do more research on them. You said you do planning and execution? Well, plan your execution of them. Just rough outlines. What would it take to implement each of them in terms of time, money, expertise? Eliminate the ones that you can’t figure out how to implement. I bet one or two will rise to the top of the pile.

If there are two–flip a coin.

Basically ideas are a dime a dozen. Read these Q&A and see how many people have “brilliant,” “terrific,” “Impossible to fail” ideas and can’t do a thing with them. Is selling hamburgers in a consistent and uniform way such a great idea? But look what Ray Kroc did with that idea. So which idea you pick isn’t as important as picking one and starting down the road with it.

In fact, if you write every idea on a 3-by-5 index card and toss them down a flight of stairs and pick the one that falls on the highest step, you’re in better shape then you are with all of the notebooks full of ideas in the world.

That’s a really good answer.

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.