You may have heard of the Winklevoss Brothers. They’re two of the luckiest people on the planet. They received a reported $65 million in a settlement from Facebook for essentially having an ‘idea stolen’. Latest reports are that they unhappy with the settlement terms because Facebook has recently been valued as high as $50 billion.I’m calling it Winklevoss Syndrome.
Winklevoss Syndrome = the false belief that an idea is ownable and that the real value of a business is strongly linked to the idea. People who suffer from this syndrome believe that they have some kind of ownership rights to something because they thought of it.
Although Mark Zuckerberg may have taken their idea, but he’s the one who built, it, funded it, promoted it, resourced it and expanded it. I’ll go as far as saying that the Winklevoss brothers are delusional if they believe they had anything to do with the success of Facebook. The idea of a social network has nothing to do with the act of building and populating a social network. Ideas in isolation have no value, ideas once executed ‘may’ have value. It’s also worth remembering that every idea that any number of people could or did have, would always be executed very differently. I think the Winklevoss brothers are the luckiest entrepreneurs on the face of the planet. They received a $65 million dollar gift for an idea and some unfinished pieces of code. They got very lucky they ever met Zuckerberg.
Every fresh idea usually has thousands of entrepreneurs around the world toying with it or building it. Simply because they have foundations in common trends, insight and technology evolution. So next time you see your ‘idea’, being brought to life, remind yourself that you didn’t ‘do’ anything about it. And then resist the temptation to suffer from Winklevoss Syndrome. Instead we should go and build something and see how limited the value of the original idea is.