"Nobody thinks. People just use the arguments and ideas they hear or read from others."
I heard this from another entrepreneur friend just the other day.
So what's the difference between saying smart things and being smart? I have an answer for that question, but you'll have to wait for it just a little bit longer.
Entrepreneurs work to deliver value by building or creating something new and useful. It's new in the sense that it hasn't been done before, or it hasn't been done this way before. And it's useful in the sense that it provides value to someone and that value will allow the entrepreneur and her investors to generate revenue and, ultimately, become profitable.
As a general rule it is harder to create something new and useful if you don't know what's out there. If you planned to build a new search engine, you'd spend significant time developing an understanding about what had been created previously. Conversely, if an entrepreneur approached you to make an investment in his new search engine, but professed to know nothing about Google, you'd have nothing to do with him.
All good entrepreneurs start by doing their homework. An entrepreneur's homework or "work" in the early stages of any company is very much about developing a deep understanding of the technology, the market, the opportunity, the risks, the competition and anything else that will be meaningful in bringing the product and the company to life.
The difference between saying smart things and being smart . . . is "work." It takes work to learn about things. It takes even more work to understand them.