I just saw “This is the End,“the idea is celebrities attempting to survive during the apocalypse.  It is a ridiculous and offensive comedy.  I laughed plenty and as of July 14th the movie brought in over $90M with a production budget of $32M.  
 
Upon leaving the theater, I told my partner in crime that we had been seeing a lot of great movies and that it was good to see a ‘so-so’ idea with great enough execution.  This reminded me of when investors reference Sivers blog post: “ideas are just a multipler of execution.”  How much is an idea worth with varying types of execution?  Or better put, a great idea is worthless with no execution.  
How can this help assess startups?  
 
The fun route would be to watch the movie and consider how easily this could have been done poorly or missed the mark on making such an absurd storyline fun and interesting.  Pay attention to the comedic execution.  
A simpler route would be to consider AirBnB from two extreme points of view:
 
Skeptical view
People are going to open their doors, and let complete strangers rent space in their homes? And they are going to meet online? Liability issues are huge.  How will security be monitored?  One bad case could potentially tank this company.  
 
Opportunistic View
Millions of homes, with millions of beds.  People can learn to be hosts and make additional income.  Travelers wanting to stay not in hotels but stay in a home-like setting.  They can pay premiums or experience cost savings.  How hard is this to do? How many people are willing to stay with strangers?  
How can we make it an easy experience?  Address the security/liability issue.
Outcome
AirBnB is wildly successful and was valued at $2.5 billion from their recent capital raise.  
 
The idea can seem unconventional and completely nuts, but as an investor on a panel once said, “Do the founders have a big enough vision? And can they get things done?”  
 
Image source: 7million7years.com
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