In his recent New York Times interview with Adam Bryant, venture capitalist Tony Tjan, CEO of CueBall, offers an amazingly simple and sensible approach for responding to new ideas.

As he puts it:

“When someone gives you an idea, try to wait just 24 seconds before criticizing it. If you can do that, wait 24 minutes.”

And then, he suggests, try to wait 24 hours.

Makes sense to me. What do you think?

Please wait at least 24 minutes before leaving your comment.

13 Responses to “The 24 rule for new ideas”

  1. Mike Brice says:

    Another variant would be instead of criticizing the idea, think, “yes, and” how can I improve or add value to the idea.

  2. Karen says:

    I like the idea of waiting 24 hours to dismiss an idea. I’m not a huge fan of the “yes and” approach. I’ve seen that as a way to change ideas so drastically that they might as well have been thrown out to begin with. Sometimes a new idea is perfectly good on its own.

    • Kenneth Vogt says:

      I’m with you, Karen, I don’t know that we are qualified to do “yes, and”. A new idea may take extended explanation or at the very least time to grasp. That’s the whole point of “new”.

  3. CBB says:

    In my undergraduate classes, we had a tutorial technique where our instructor would ask an opening question, as it were, and we were to begin our conversation and understanding of the assignment as a group. Although initially people jumped in immediately, we learned that there’s something to the notion of a “thoughtful pause” — 24 seconds seems fine, but it could easily be a minute or two — to make sure you’ve understood the idea and compose your response.

    Most people who have read Herodotus recall that the Persian Army had a tradition of making a decision and re-evaluating it after drinking: if they came to the same conclusion, it was a sound decision. Perhaps 24 hours is an equally useful perspective.

    • Jenny Bhatt says:

      Hmm. I have not read Herodotus, but I’m not sure if I like the thought of re-evaluating post-drinking. Surely, your cognitive abilities are not going to be at their best. :)

      Unless you mean that they had a good sleep post-drinking and THEN re-evaluated……

  4. Luis Gonzalez says:

    Depends on the idea, if clear and in your capability – 24 seconds is enough, if out of your expertise, consider 24 years…

  5. C. A. Hurst says:

    Sorry, Dan. It only took me about 24 seconds to literally laugh out loud. Great post!

  6. ed bernacki says:

    There is an interesting parallel to this 24 hour rule. If you go back to Applied Imagination (1953) in which Alex Osborn talked about his approach to ‘brain storming,’ his first recommendation was to apply your imagination to solve the problem yourself. If you need to work with others, his second recommendation is that you work with one person and talk over the problem. You then go away for 24 hours with the intent of each person coming together with some starting ideas for a good discussion and to build on each other’s ideas. I think this point is the same — some time for reflection and incubation.

  7. geoff says:

    the best ideas are normally rejected by lesser visioned individuals at first.

  8. In other words, become a bit introverted, take the time to think

  9. Kent says:

    I won’t wait for it but I won’t criticize either. I will ask a lot questions, they make me think even more after all the questions.

  10. Simon says:

    It’s a good idea, but not a new one. :)

    Have a quick look into The Disney Technique… First you dream (up the big ideas), then you Engineer (to figure how to make it work) and THEN you critisize it.

    S

  11. Love the idea. Check “John Cleese on creativity” in YouTube. Two of his five rules are “Time”.

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