Thursday, February 20, 2014

"I'm an Idea Guy"

I couldn't remember if it was a video or a podcast I had done a couple weeks back, but I was mentioning the "idea guy" and precisely just what despicable pieces of vermin these type of people tend to be.  Consequently I received quite a bit of e-mails, comments, and responses from listeners anecdoting about "idea guys" they've ran into in the past and thus I think it's time to expound upon and highlight these individuals. 

First understand "idea guys" are really nothing more than lazy bums who want all the glory and benefits of hard work, but don't want to do the hard work themselves.  They just want to sit and pontificate and come up with pretty ideas, but when it comes to turning those ideas into reality, they need other people.  Typically this manifests itself in the form of a jock with a business degree or an MBA who when it comes time to volunteer to take on a task at a meeting they'll excuse themselves saying, "well I'm more of an idea guy."  Bankers also fit this description as they'll "work hard" to provide you the money for your business, but you need to pay them a 7% cut while you do all the real work.  Regardless of what form they take, they NEVER get their hands dirty with IT, engineering, trades, accounting, or anything else that is require to turn an idea into a profitable business.

Second, they're egotistical, sometimes even ego-maniacal.  They value themselves more than anybody else and think a different set of rules apply to them.  Therefore, work and toil is beneath them.  They just want to be in charge and benefit from the status of "leader."  I point out Barack Obama not because of my 100% disagreeing with his politics, but because he is the epitome of this.  The man has no real world experience (just look it up, only 1 year in the private sector).  BUT despite his non-existent career and literally achieving nothing in life, he fancied himself so important he wrote TWO memoir books and deemed himself worthy of the presidency of the United States (consequently you can see just how effective "idea guys" are when it comes to actual performance and production).

Third, they're arrogant.  They really believe they're that smart.  That nobody else has their "leadership abilities" or insights.  They think the kid programming code or the woman doing accounting can't come up with the ideas themselves, no matter how simple and obvious those ideas are.  Deep down inside I don't think they actually believe this, but their ego and fear of real work conspire to make them think they are smarter than the average bear.  Regardless, these are the type of people who will rely on credentials and not true genius as vindication of their being an "idea guy."  MBA's, "leadership seminars," and all the cacophony of BS business school tripe where they try to make "leadership" a teachable science, when in reality it is only hard work and experience that makes a leader. 

Finally, they're thieves.  Because they're so afraid of work, they will do anything to avoid it.  Thus many of these "idea guys" develop incredible political and charming skills that (sadly) lands many of them into positions of power.  This isn't their fault as much as it is the current employment system we have today, but it doesn't change the fact they take the credit for other people's hard work.  Not to say that Steve Jobs was one such guy, but in this Bill Burr clip you get the idea. 

In short, you don't want to have anything to do with "idea guys."  Be it work, be it school, be it social.  In work they'll view you like a CIA agent does an "asset" and at minimum try to offload their work on you, or (worse) blame their mistakes on you.  In school they are GUARANTEED to be the person who doesn't do their part in group projects.  And in social life, they are the ones to constantly be late, never bring booze to the party, and will constantly parasite favors off of you, never to be returned in kind.  Thankfully idea guys can easily be avoided because whenever there's real work to be done, and it's time for people to start stepping forward and taking on tasks, they will yell with the decibel-level of Loud Howard, "WELL I'M KIND OF A BIG PICTURE GUY.  AN IDEA GUY MYSELF!"

That's when you punch him right in the face and tell him to start programming code.


Anonymous said...

Entrepreneurship professor was like this, made me distasteful of the education establishment and found your blog.

Orphan Wilde said...

One of the coders I worked with was an "Idea Guy" who wanted to do things himself.

Here's the thing: His ideas -really were- quite good. (I do not give this kind of praise lightly.) He'd take a seemingly intractable problem and turn it into a fully-generalized solution to an entire class of seemingly intractable problems. But when he implemented that solution himself... well, there would be one bug for every two lines of code. He'd, for example, try to use a variable DIRECTLY ABOVE an If statement checking to see if that variable was null.

Most of his approaches to solving problems have become standard strategies in my company, even though he's since left.

I think the issue with Idea Guys is the same problem as with everything else - for every person who is actually good at it, there are nine who just -think- they're good at it.

Eric Mueller said...

True idea guy that he is, the President did NOT write two books. William Ayres ghost wrote "Dreams From My Father"

I'm trying to find a link documenting it, but supposedly David Axelrod ghost-wrote "Audacity" for him as well.

None of these people write their own books. Robert Kiyosaki, total "idea guy" pays somebody to ghost tweet for him.

Mad Italian said...

Mad Italian said...

(Not sure if the other comment posted. Delete if duplicate.)

xsplat said...

I don't really get your objection.

I'm a creative man who does not enjoy taking care of details, and understand the need for specialists who can support my deficits.

That's what teamwork is all about.

And yet none of my businesses could survive without me.

No, not everyone is a big picture thinker. That is not a common skill, and there really are people who are better at this, and yes it's possible that some of these people are not constitutionally as interested in focusing on implementing their ideas.

So why the hate? Give a little respect where it is due.

James Tiberius Kirk said...

And yet here you are, Mister Cappy Cap the Idea Guy, using a blogging platform you didn't build on your own server ...

You're an idea guy too, and so are a lot of people to some degree, yet you think it's a bad thing to have other people work out the details. Maybe you don't employ architects when you buy a house based on a plan from a plan book, but someone else did, and you'd still benefit from that.

I'd give you a punch in the mouth since you've asked for one, Mr Cappy Cap the Idea Guy, but I cut the knuckles on my preferred punching hand because the guy I punched on Saturday night had a "grill" ...

OH, fuck it. [punches Mr Captain Cappy the Idea Guy in the mouth, because he asked for it]

Now stop stealing sheep from Blogger and start writing code, you mouthy fuck.

As if you'd get your hands dirty with IT ...

Richard Cranium said...

Thanks for posting this Cappy. I used to work for a guy like this he's a self-employed entrepreneur who owns some online tourism sites.

He has that same mindset that he's the big corner office "idea" guy and everyone else was his minions doing his grunt work. Things like washing the car or cleaning the house were menial tasks that "little people" were hired to do because it took away from "big idea" time.

I was the second banana in the company (there was only 4) but was expected to wear 17 different hats including his personal assistant (he has some health problems and has limited energy.) Again "little people" picking up dry cleaning and groceries.

He told me when I started that he'd show me all the HTML I'd ever need on a napkin in 5 minutes but would get pissed when I couldn't figure out in minutes custom CMS code and the ever-changing SEO rules. Also he fancied himself the greatest writer ever and would regularly berate my writings, even re--writing simple requests to the casinos for PR to his liking.

His whole business model was a combination of a WWE match, a Billy Mays infomercial and a Leykis 101 class. Everything had to have a "spin" and a "swerve" and an "angle" and be made larger than life as opposed to a guy with health issues running a small online business from the spare bedroom of a 50 year old rental house. He also insisted on keeping late hours and anyone that was out in the day was just doing "little people" stuff and business meetings should be held at the cigar lounge at 8 pm.

The last straw was when the economy started tanking a few years ago and he refused to believe that was the cause of declining business and it was all my fault. We had a less than acrimonious split and don't speak anymore.

It was just the ego and self-importance that was the worst to deal with. He legitimately believed his own hype and thought the likes of the Donald Trump's and the Steve Wynn's and the Mark Cuban's of the world should be coming to HIM for business advice. He's been in Vegas 20 years and literally no one of any importance knows who he is or relies on his site but yet he "knows it all." Glad to be rid of him honestly it was quite unhealthy for me at the end.