Startups need people able and willing of doing the actual work. They need programmers, designers, and eventually folks to do marketing, support, and more. What they don’t need, though, is someone who’s just going to be The Idea Guy.
You know the type. It’s the “this thing is going to be Facebook meets Flickr, but for dogs! If we can just get 1% of the online dog market, we’ll be rich!” spiel. All idea, usually no money, and hardly any functional skills that’ll help build or launch the damn thing.
On the face and the facts of it, it’d be easy to turn down The Idea Guy. He wants you to work for very little or free in return for a smaller-than-his slice of the pie in the end. That end very rarely happens. But the energy and the big dreams can be dangerously alluring. I know, I fell for it more than once.
The truth is that most everyone has plenty of ideas that could work out to be great businesses. The kicker is most often the right execution, that they’d be responsible for anyway, at the right time, which is almost impossible to predict. The value of The Perfect Idea is very small indeed.
That doesn’t mean it’s useless to have big ideas and plenty of enthusiasm. If you’re that guy, you’ve got a great start. Now pick up a functional skill and help build it your damn self.