Ideas & Lost Opportunities

Today, YouTube came out with a new feature that allows users to embed annotations in videos. It was quite a rude awakening (literally as Amit told me about this soon after I woke up) to get this piece of news. Annotations in Videos was the topic of my Masters thesis. It was a subject I spent countless (well, a few thousand at least) hours working on for one full year. I wrote a full thesis on it. I developed a working prototype. I knew almost right after graduation (as that was the time video was starting to get big) that this was an idea worth working on in a startup domain, an idea that if executed and developed into a product would one fine day get picked up by one of the big guys.

I’d pitched this idea so often to Amit and some of my other friends. I remember having this long conversation once with Amit on a drive back from the Bay area to Santa Barbara. It was exciting to talk about it and dream of working on it, of building a product and technology that allowed one to embed graphical annotations in arbitrary videos with ease – and with minimal placement effort i.e., optimal placement using CV and image analysis techniques.

The sad part – I never actually did anything about it after defending my thesis. I’m kicking myself in the foot today for having missed out on a huge pie. I knew this space inside out. I’d poured myself into it. Ugh.

The moral of the story and a lesson I learned early on – ideas by themselves count for nary a dime, execution counts. Make your ideas count by executing on them, when they matter. We all have an internal gauge that tells us what’s worth spending time on and what’s not.

Think, but act on the thought.