Ideas are based on many kinds of origins. They are cultivated on fertile soils or not. Some winemakers have more experience than others. Some even have some special touch that is difficult to replicate.

There is the right time to pick the fruit. Then there is the time to ferment. Often the more elaborate taking time. Then there are the cheaper alternatives.

If it is worth your while, you love what you are making a difference to and you are taking the journey with wonderful people who shed their light on the grapes worth picking.

If you know you’ve got the right harvest for making a difference in the long game then do ferment it, nurture it, keep the temperature right until you bottle it up.

All that and more resonates with me as a tech startup founder.

The one aspect in this that I have always found problematic when in large organisations is that there is no continuity from the great ideas people have to their actual implementation.

No one remained to nurture the ferment or bottle the wine up. People came and went to the next comfortable position, where their ideas may not have followed them and perhaps they just didn’t care.

So, the ideas wine cellar is a concept that I’ve held dear for a long time. This idea comes naturally for those who run roadmaps and in startups the founder, the product owner or vision holder, has to be on top of it.

No one else will be, not the advisors, the board members or the investors. It is not their purview to run and be accountable for your strategic roadmap. On the whole they, the good ones, are involved in your company’s success but it is the results that they measure it by not the early funnel of it, interested as they may be.

All good inputs are wonderful to receive but not all of them matter to the strategic choices of your company. Some of them never. If the input providers have shown their interest by first understanding in great detail then their input is most likely going to be extremely valuable and have a real impact on your roadmaps and then success.

To all startup founders, be very wary of inputs that smell like chips on shoulders from their own ventures or failures, they may have nothing to do with your context or issues.

Ideas wine cellar is the approach you take to ensure that the great ideas, or the ones whose time isn’t right or your current context isn’t right for,  are reconsidered along the way. This means that the ideas are still in barrels or if bottled up perhaps you are experimenting.

This concept is particularly important in large organisations where novel ideas tend to drown as no one can be considered the product owner with good idea spotting and decision making powers like Steve Jobs.

A bad barrel of wine does not take away from the good harvest, the ferment, the bottling up and the touch of the winemaker.


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