A few months ago on Twitter, someone approached me to chat about a business idea. This rarely happens to me, but I am more than open to talking about ideas — in fact, I quite dig it.
We do the old Twitter to Skype dance and I get this dropped on me: “I need you to first sign this NDA (non-disclosure agreement) before we start, so that my idea stays protected.”
Are you fucking kidding me?!?
Protected ideas are as good as dead; both yours and mine. It is not for lack of ideas that we do not start new projects. It is due to a lack of resources, time, and energy within ourselves and our organizations — nothing else.
Your ideas are worthless until the day that you take action on them — and after seeing your NDA — I’m sure that you never will (sorry, but it’s true).
I do not need or want to steal your idea and neither does anyone else that can help you. Trust me, your ideas just aren’t that good, and neither are mine before letting them out for others to bat around.
Yes, it is terrifying to let your ideas out to the world. I get this.
What if someone says it sucks? They will (hell, I just did and I haven’t even heard it). No one ever said that putting your ideas out into the world is easy, it’s not. To this day, I cannot sleep for days before launching a new project.
Get used to it, or keep your day job.
There are people who have already made the mistakes you are about to make. Give them your ideas for feedback, discussion, and sometimes to be torn apart.
Maybe your idea is awesome. Too bad your ideas are worthless, until they aren’t — which is when, and only when, you’ve decided to give others the ability to destroy them.
It’s cheaper, faster, and less frustrating to have them destroyed and possibly rebuilt, before spending any more time, money, or effort on them.
Be open with ideas.
When you open up with your ideas you will begin talking to smart, interesting people that can help you. If your ideas are as good as you think (and they will be if you stick to it), others will begin notice.
I have made some of my best business connections with the Twitter to Skype dance, so don’t be shy. Be open.