I was chatting with an entrepreneurial friend of mine and we were discussing startup ideas. I remember about a year ago when I was trying to get my first startup going (a group photo book site called yumento.com) I spent so much time and energy trying to protect my idea. This was partly due to my ego and partly because I had read about businesses that exposed themselves too soon only to be dead in the water later on. I spoke to two potential co-founders, got them to sign NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) and even went as far as talking with lawyers about setting up the company as an LLP (limited liability partnership) which could have been a further startup cost.
Going back to my conversation, I wasn’t consciously trying to launch a business and so I was relaxed. I realised I was not only telling him about my ideas but also that I was getting some great suggestions on how each idea could succeed. This conversation snowballed into another meeting and we are now considering taking this venture forward. I think it also comes down to trust and instinct which are things you can only improve on with practice.
I have spoken to other entrepreneurs and heard about co-founders ‘”screwing them over” but I think in the end you have to get the idea out there to attract people to the project. In the end, it is not about the idea but rather the execution that is key. I concluded that the people with a surplus of ideas are not afraid to share their thoughts (like Seth Godin). However, the people who obstinately protect their ideas do so because they maybe know that in reality they only have one idea and are scared to death that they might lose their one chance to become a success.
Photo courtesy of ryancr