"It's a great idea, just build it!"

In the past ten years, I've been involved with a number of startups in roles ranging from Jr developer following a few smart people to CTO when suddenly I'm expected to be the smart person. In addition, I've passed on more "opportunites" than I can count.

To be fair, some opportunities are amazing. They've been put together by sharp people with deep domain understanding and powerful industry contacts. Coming from the right person, these cause me to stop and ponder. Coming from the wrong person, they don't distinguish themselves until much later.

On the flip side, you have… well, you have these people:

User Friendly, A great web comic

That's right. They have the "great idea" to "build a site that makes money" and expect someone else to take all the risk and make it happen. While it's easy to pick on this type – and trust me, there's no shortage of them – I think it's more interesting to look at what they're actually doing.

When you go on vacation*, you usually don't say "I'm going to get on a plane!" You say "I'm going to relax on the beach!" You realize that your goal (relax on the beach) is the important part while what it takes to get there (the plane) is secondary to the point of being irrelevant.

Unfortunately, it's not the same with business.  Doing the same thing in business creates an Underpants Gnome scenario where the destination is seen as the important part without any clue on how they're going to get there.

Whatever you do, avoid these people…

*For all you entrepreneur and/or small business types out there, "vacation" is defined roughly as "a period of time – usually multiple days consecutively when you're not working". No seriously, that's what it means.