Vision Vampires Suck The Life Out of Ideas

About fifteen years ago (maybe longer), I had an idea for a magazine. One of my many big dreams was to publish a monthly magazine, but not for fashion.

I wanted a magazine that inspired and motivated people. I wanted to share stories about ‘BIG IDEA’ people.

I wanted a magazine that helped to elevate people and give them a platform. Specifically, I wanted this magazine to focus on women and our plight in corporate America. I wanted to talk about the challenges of being a professional woman climbing that ladder to the big boys’ club.

I wanted to share inspiring stories of the women who had made it to the club, even though many still weren’t allowed at the table.

I had big ideas for that magazine.

know your worth

The problem was, I had no money. No investors. No one who believed in my dream. You see, magazines were one of those businesses that failed more than they succeeded. It used to take more years for a magazine to find its feet than the average start-up business.

But I didn’t let those obstacles stop me.

I had a friend who worked for a company that produced magazines. They knew the ins and outs of magazine production. So, I arranged an appointment with them.

I went prepared, too. I wanted them to be able to see a basic idea of what I envisioned for my magazine.

Back then, I didn’t have much in the way of software. I was pretty good at manipulating text and graphics/clipart to create what I needed. For this particular meeting, I used MS Word’s newsletter template and clipart to make a basic categorical layout of my vision.

It was crude, admittedly. But, it was the best I could do with what I had at the time. I thought that it gave a pretty good visual idea of what I wanted. Since they were the experts, I figured they could look beyond my crude sketch and see the big picture.

I was wrong.

All they saw was an amateur with a big dream, little money, and a crude clipart sketch of a poor layout for a magazine.

They laughed at me behind my back. They ridiculed me amongst each other.

How do I know?

My friend who had introduced me to them had told me in that pathetic pitying kind of way.

I felt humiliated.

They laughed at my amateurish display, instead of seeing someone who did whatever was necessary to convey an idea to the people who were considered experts.

You see, as an ‘expert’ in my field, when someone comes to me with a crude display of their idea, my vision is forward-thinking enough to look beyond the poorly executed mechanics to see the big picture. I don’t ridicule them because, if they knew how to make a beautiful display of their idea, they wouldn’t need me.

If I could have executed a beautiful layout of my magazine idea, I wouldn’t have needed them.

This is where we fail people who have dreams but need help executing them. We like to laugh at the novice’s lack of knowledge and/or skill. But remember, every expert was once a novice with a big idea.

I never started that magazine. The costs were prohibitive for me. Yet, the core idea remained.

So, I revised my idea.

Instead of presenting my idea in print, I decided to make it person-to-person. I started a women’s network that did precisely what I hoped my magazine would do. The face-to-face interaction was far more powerful than print. The information wasn’t a one-sided monolog, which is what a magazine is. The network provided dialogue, interactive engagement, and a platform for exchanging ideas and sharing skills and expertise.

In life, we often encounter idea killers – people who stand in an ivory tower looking down on people who are working hard to execute their vision and bringing their ideas to life with little-to-no resources.

Today, magazines are digital and there are thousands upon thousands of online magazines. If I wanted to right now, I could create my magazine digitally, without spending tens of thousands of dollars to get started. I could make a beautiful layout using one of many templates available for sale online. And, I could do it in the privacy of my home office without the snickers and sneers and ridicule of people who would have been willing to take my money all while laughing behind my back.

I wonder if they changed their business model to keep up with technology. I wonder if that company is still doing business. I imagine that if they are, it was at the expense of collapsing and then having to start all over. You can’t be forward-thinking while focusing on other people’s shortcomings.