The Information Age

“Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen”



Photo courtesy of GetPiper 

Story written by Silas Grant –

“Don’t tell anyone your ideas, they’ll just say you can’t get it done”. “Keep your work to yourself, because people don’t want you to be better than them”. “If you tell someone what you’ve got going on, they’ll steal it”. I’m certain we’ve heard all of these things. And each of those statements are right. And in the same breath, each of those statements are wrong. What makes each of them right is that they are feasible scenarios. What makes each of them wrong is that if you tell your ideas to the right people, the negative outcomes can be limited and possibly eliminated.

I’ve seen so many people struggle because they don’t share information with one another. The basis of this site comes from the question “” The concept is one that states that good ideas are created from several hunches and the collision of smaller ideas to create a great one. Also, Steven Johnson, the creator of this concept believes that no one person owns 100% of any idea. Even if it’s only .001%, someone has the missing piece that completes your idea that is already 99.999% clear. But imagine the people who are much further away from shaping their ideas and gathering a sense of clarity. Imagine the struggle of going at it alone. Steven Johnson also says the “chance favors the connected mind”. This means that people who are purposely connecting with others are more likely to inherit what they need based on being a part of environments where ideas and resources are flowing. 

So for those who are isolated and afraid to share ideas, there are a few problems:

I like to compare ideas to food. Unprepared food will never be accepted, digested, or pleasing to the body. Like food, an idea needs to be prepared and “cooked” before it’s served to the masses. If you’ve ever seen partially cooked or uncooked food, it doesn’t look as good as the final product. How many of us have walked in a kitchen, seen a person making a dish, it looks ugly during the cooking progress, and we make a strange face? How many of us have seen that dish once it’s complete and the food was so good that we “cleaned the plate”? Most of us have. The same can be said for ideas. You would’ve never imagined that you’d listen to music, take pictures, search for destinations, record video, and do more on a phone with no cord that has reception virtually everywhere that you travel. You would’ve never imagined going online to find a bedroom in someone’s house out of town versus a plush hotel room. You would’ve never imagined pushing one button and a regular person in a regular car picking you up and taking you anywhere you desire in your city. All of these are ideas that were “cooked” and then presented to you. If Apple, Uber, or AirBnb would’ve exposed you to their concepts prior to fully preparing them, you would’ve thought the ideas were crazy. But when fully prepared, a well “cooked” idea is one that you accept, digest, and find pleasing.

So what do you do when it takes a well “cooked” idea to get acceptance from the masses, and you need help to get it done, but you are skeptical about sharing your idea? ……

Find the right “cooks”. You need a chef or chefs to help you make the idea come to life. Unthaw the idea, season it, and cook it to completion. Your idea is probably pretty big. And if you are making a big meal, you need some cooks with you. Imagine a Thanksgiving dinner for 45 people. Imagine all of your family at one house. You can imagine that there will be some people who belong in the kitchen and some who don’t. Kids running in and out distracting people and being scolded for doing so. Grandpa constantly asking when the food will be ready. Aunts who have no intentions of cooking, but standing over shoulders critiquing every dish. Once you fight off the distractions, there are always those who can and will cook. There are those who will keep the kitchen clean. And last but not least, those who will fund the meal by buying the ingredients.

The same can be said for ideas. There are those cause distractions, constantly ask when the idea will be ready, and/or critique without offering assistance. But then there are those who will help make the idea come to life, assist you with other tasks that free you up to do your work, and/or provide resources for you to get the idea off the ground. Your biggest job is understanding that these helpful people exist and it’s your job to locate them. Your problem is not that you can’t tell anyone your ideas. Your problem is that you’ve been telling the wrong people.

So how do you find the right people for your unprepared ideas?

Environments where people are talking about and building on ideas are safe places to share information about what you’re doing. These are also environments where people who actually get things done exist and operate. These environments can expedite your idea process.

Who should you keep your unprepared ideas away from

These people aren’t bad. They’re just not “cooks”.  Or they aren’t prepared to help you on this idea. However, they are people that you can share the idea with once it’s complete. Remember, everyone can eat the meal, but we don’t need everyone in the kitchen.

The right people for your unprepared ideas are the “cooks” that you need in your “kitchen”. The other people can be invited to “eat” the “meal” at the table once the idea has been “cooked”. Knowing who can encourage you during the preparation period is vital to keeping the hope of your idea afloat. Sometimes there are too many cooks in the kitchen. And other times, the wrong people are in the kitchen. Find your team and grab your “apron”. You’ve got work to do.