How To Refine Your Next Idea

Use the 3 hurdles framework from Scott Galloway to pressure test your ideas, presentations, and projects

Kyle Gulau
2 min readJul 2, 2021


Photo by Vladislav Vasnetsov from Pexels

Everyone has hurdles they need to jump. Daily, weekly, monthly, and annually. We have projects and goals that we’d like to accomplish. We need to accomplish.

Before you even get to the meeting, you need to validate your thinking. As you’re developing an idea or project, recognize that the work is an import-export process. Right before you export, ask yourself, “can my idea clear these 3 hurdles?”

  1. Is it differentiated?
  2. Is it relevant?
  3. Is it sustainable?

Is It Differentiated?

Is your idea different? Do you have the opportunity to make it different? Being different means that you stand out in the marketplace. It means you’re unique. That positioning can be a good thing. When you’re differentiated it likely means that you’re one of the few (or the only) providing a particular value.

Ford’s assembly line differentiated their manufacturing process and allowed them to reduce cost, reduce price, and increase perceived value for workers. Snap is differentiated because the content deletes after it’s viewed. Pocket neighborhoods are differentiated because they’re uncommon.

Your idea is differentiated because…?

Is It Relevant?

Are you connected to the industry and the needs of your customers? TikTok is relevant with algorithm-based recommendations and short-form videos. Any social media app for that matter is relevant. Building a house is relevant because there is a housing shortage in most of our communities. Finding a way to conserve energy is relevant because of climate change.

Being relevant is a bit of a paradox. If you’re highly relevant, you’re less likely to be differentiated. Striking that balance of relevant but differentiated is key.

Is It Sustainable?

Can your activity and idea be maintained? If you’re differentiated, if you’re relevant, how will you keep going and then build a defendable position so that no one can copy you?

Apple has started to differentiate itself with a privacy position. This is sustainable for them because their business doesn’t rely on collecting other people's data. Compare that to Android/Google who needs to violate people’s privacy for their business to work.

Microsoft, with the release of their new OS has said no developer fees. That’s sustainable because their business doesn’t rely on developer fees. It’s also extremely relevant because Apple is constantly in court trying to defend its developer fees.

Whatever your idea may be, talk yourself through these 3 hurdles to make your idea stronger. You’ll know you have a good one if you can clear all 3.



Kyle Gulau

3x Top Writer 👨‍💻. Editor: Patterns of Development. Interested in: Strategy, Learning, and Real Estate. Rethinker 🧠. Framer 👷‍♂️. Hit FOLLOW ⤵