Maybe your name is on my list, it’s a short list with the list heading, “2010 IC TDS.” It is a breeding ground of ideas, a jumping off place outlining concepts from people I know and people I might like to know better.
Sometime, over the course of the last year or two, you & I have may have talked on the phone about an idea [TDS] “That Doesn’t Suck.” I intend no disparagement, I classify my own ideas into similar categories. Ideas are everywhere, you hear them and develop them on a regular basis. When I receive an [IC] “Incoming Call/Contact” from someone who shares an idea TDS,” I add them to this list.
So maybe that’s “How,” the how you got on this list, ” but what about the “Why?” Why, at this particular point in time am I mentioning this? After all, you may be thinking, I haven’t talked with this guy for months. The Why is because you said what almost every entrepreneur, or aspiring entrepreneur, says when they have an idea. “Please don’t tell anyone about it.” (I know you said it, I have a little check box on my sheet to keep track)
I always agree, of course, that’s my role in this sleigh ride. If I didn’t agree to keep quiet, never mention anything, never speak of this ever again; well, I’d be breaking some super-secret, inner-circle, clandestine code of anonymity and silence which, if violated, would rip at the very fabric of our existence. Should this unwritten code ever be violated, it could move your idea forward to become something that exists in reality as opposed to…, well, I mean what you know.
I have been there, this is nothing new, I have a file cabinet full of NDAs to prove it. Nobody wants their idea snatched from under them, but the best way to ensure that does not happen is to take action. A friend on FB posted a quote this morning from Henry Ford, he states, “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that an airplane takes off against the wind, not with the wind.” The unexplored part of Ford’s quote is this: Simple mathematics applies when flying an aircraft, Take-offs = Landings. You can’t have more of one and less of the other, they must equal each other or something has tragically gone wrong.
Concepts & ideas require initiative, that’s the Take-off part. However, they also require a Landing.
At some time, at some point, you must land that plane, so continuing Ford’s thought; you can’t land a plane into a strong headwind, believe me I’ve tried. The plane will hang in the air like a kite on a string. If, when this happens, you don’t start talking to the tower in an effort to determine alternative runway options, that headwind will slam you into the ground like a stone falling from a cliff. (this, by the way, would be considered a failed landing)
I received the following email from Naeem Zafar this morning. He speaks to the fear of reveal issue, but also includes some other nuggets. One of which is, “No company [or person] ever goes into production [or implementation] with the original concept.” I couldn’t agree with this more.
One more quote, this one by George Patton ~ “A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” I’m sure ole blood ‘n guts wasn’t thinking about how he was going to develop, produce and market his latest gizmo via the internet, but the underlying premise remains the same.
Make it a Great Day!
~If not today, when?~
There are many misconceptions about this topic. Many entrepreneurs that I talk to are afraid to reveal what they are working on. They are afraid of idea getting “stolen”. They talk about filing patents and insist of signing confidentiality agreements. Please allow me to shed some light on this topic.
How open should I be?
New entrepreneurs often have similar questions like: if I talk to people, how will I keep my idea secret; should I have them sign a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA), what should and shouldn’t I talk about?
Your idea has three components: What problem do you solve, how you solve it and who do you solve it for?
The benefit to talking about WHAT problem you are solving to as many people as possible far outweighs the risk of anyone just running away with your idea. What you do is not the same as “how” you do it. Only talk about the “How” of your idea with relevant people. Look for reaction and feedback and allow it to shape your thinking.
I get this question all the time when I am advising entrepreneurs. If your idea is so simple that, that as soon as you mention it, everybody will steal it, then maybe it’s not such a good idea. Ideas are a dime a dozen. The difficult part is the execution, how to make it correctly, how to fulfill it, how to sell it, and how to support it. The advantage of getting meaningful feedback far outweighs the risk of an idea being stolen.
Remember all ideas have to be chiseled away to become fundable. Your conversations with users and customers will help shape these ideas. No company that I know of has ever gone to production with an idea that they started with.
You can find more of my money-saving tips HERE- the essential guide about legal matters for all entrepreneurs.
To your success,
The Startup Advisor
20 Year Silicon Valley Veteran