Growing Your Vision

Big Idea Chair @ Spikes Asia
How do you get a big idea growing? From Yodel Anecdotal’s Flickr photostream.

From the previous post on Function Follows Form, you have a name. You have an entity. But what should you sell? I don’t think you get there by sitting in a room and divining it. Or as I tell people, “You can’t steer a parked car.”

Your vision is going to come from your talent, passion and interaction in the world. That is, the vision of something that sells and is worth building.


You are better than a thousand other people at something. It may be so close to you that it’s hard to detect. We often like to focus on our weaknesses and we don’t appreciate our strengths. I have found this to be true not only in my reading but also in working with clients.

You have to know what your strengths are. Otherwise, you may focus wasted energy on developing your weaknesses which is vain. It is frustrating and elusive. You will never be world-class in your weaknesses.

If you need help figuring this out, contact me. It’s a vital step to ensure you understand your talent and how it can be used to build something.

The world values talent disproportionally. If there is common talent – flipping burgers, driving a bus or typing 60 words per minute – it’s not worth much.

However, scarce talent has a high price tag. Bringing the next iPhone to market, neurosurgery and running a Fortune 50 company are disproportionately more difficult. It is special talent.

Figuring out what talent is your fit needs to be carefully understood. It is your sweet spot where life comes easy. Living in that space is where your opportunities will lie.


Just because you are talented at something may or may not mean you are passionate about it. Your passion is what you find yourself gravitating towards. It is what you love thinking, talking and socializing over.

Foodies have passion around the new niche restaurant that noone has discovered. NASCAR fans know all the drivers and the drama with pit crews and sponsors. These are passions people share and spend lots of energy on in events, social media and work.

Passion is the lubricant to work. It makes work disappear in the background. It’s why my son picks up his guitar when he is bored. He loves it and can’t get enough of it.

Your own passions help to take your talent to the next level. The work becomes awfully hard if you don’t have passion. Furthermore, it is hard to get people to follow you if they don’t sense the passion you have for something. It comes across.

People love Martha Stewart because they sense her passion for cooking and home products.


You may have an idea of what is worth building, but it will only be validated by what the world accepts. Markets are far more important to profitability than a product focus. Understanding markets comes from interaction. Working with people and solving problems that they are heavily focused on provides continuous feedback.

Getting tied into a feedback loop is critical for growing your vision. It helps you avoid the mistakes common to theorists that are disconnected from what people truly want. Interaction keeps you tied into people and their desires and pain.

Practically speaking, much of interaction happens online via social media and email exchange. It is how focus groups are done today quickly and easily.

Working on projects is a much higher fidelity method to understanding requirements and getting clear on what works.

Get Started

It’s hard to create vision in a vacuum. Your own vision can come from your talent, passions and interactions. However, at the end of the day, you have to be deliberate and focused to get clear on what is valuable and worthwhile to build.

Starting may mean brainstorming new ideas and opportunities.  Or it can mean removing the distractions which sap energy and focus.

There’s a vision that needs your fostering and care. What is it?

Published by Don Dalrymple

I partner with founders and entrepreneurs in startup businesses. I write and consult on strategy, systems, team building and growing revenue.

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