Strategy · Entrepreneurs

I have a great idea. Should I worry about sharing it? Won't someone steal it?

Sarabjeet Kaur Senior Software Consultant at HCL Technologies

November 18th, 2016

I have been keeping a potentially great idea to myself for some time now. It would be a web based service / blog which would be specific in multiple ways. At least comparing to what I saw so far. One of the reasons why I haven’t tried to make it work is that in my opinion the idea would be easy to steal so I want to have at least the advantage of an up and running website and/or some kind of marketing campaign started. I am not sure how to find people to help me and at the same time to protect my idea from stealing it. Do you have some piece of advice for me?

Jeremy Pavleck Design Director - Future Technologies and Automation at a financial company

November 18th, 2016

Here's the thing:
I guarantee you you're not the first person to come up with the idea. 

But you can be the first person to follow through and act on that idea.

I could have the next trillion dollar idea, but if I don't have the drive to put it into action it's worth nothing to no one. 

Martin Omansky Independent Venture Capital & Private Equity Professional

November 19th, 2016

Some of the most successful companies were built on borrowed or stolen ideas, but two things need to be kept in mind: (1) an idea is not the same thing as a business; and (2) there are very very few truly original ideas out there. There are many decent commercial opportunities, and, in the tech field, some may have unique features, so there is still the possibility that a business can be organized around an idea, but most businesses grow and thrive because they are properly managed. I would not worry much about your idea being stolen. I would simply take normal precautions (NDAs, IP lawyers, controlled distribution of materials) and concentrate on converting your idea into an operating business quickly, before somebody with superior resources approximates your idea and eats your lunch. Sent from my iPhone

Chris Hill Global Marketing Leader and General Manager - Mobile and Wireless

November 18th, 2016

"there are no new ideas". If it is good, at least 2-3 other teams somewhere will be working on it.  You don't need to promote it but you need to reference it and use it to sell prospective employees and others. Execution is the key. Many good ideas out there but executing successfully on those good ideas is what leads to success. Direct your energy towards execution not protection. Good luck

Craig Larson Comprehensive Business Development • Analytics

February 16th, 2017

Tell people what you do ... not how you do it ... establish a market or it isn't worth pursuing

Stan Podolski CEO at Nimble Aircraft.

November 18th, 2016

Let me begin with simple. Your idea is either:
- not too simple to implement
- or not worth a dime

Try to sell it to your mom, your neighbour, your friend, you CTO, see it they say "I will give you a 1000, let's try to do it".

Sebastian Pereyro

November 20th, 2016

Ideas are not yours to keep secret, in fact if you truly believe in your idea, go out and find people that have the same idea, convince  then to help you out, sell them your idea, motivate and excite others to help you build it. In my opinion, that's the only way to take care of an idea, unless you have been do ing research and development for many years in something very specific, it is hard to come up with a unique idea or invention. Go build it, give the world your passion, and build it with a team that can make it happen. 

Craig Larson Comprehensive Business Development • Analytics

November 21st, 2016

in the US copyrights are an effective and virtually costless attempt to keep honest people honest.  Far less expensive than patents.  MNDA (Mutual NDA) makes it known that what you have you believe to be your property however I've been put out of business by global companies and a handful of people that could out later me.  Best advice I've got is to get to market quickly.

Justin Njoh IT Director - Mayfairworldwide, Lisol,

November 19th, 2016

The thing with great ideas is that many people have them. But like many have already said, having a great idea is the easy part - executing the idea to success is a very different proposition.

In your position, I'd try and find people that I think might help me. Then try and build a relationship with them. You will soon know whether or not to trust someone with some or all of your idea.

Trust is the key here - you'll have to have some measure of trust in someone at some point if you want to realise the idea.

Fergus Dunn Venture Capital Solutions - British Business Bank

November 19th, 2016

I can understand the hesitation not to reveal your idea. However, the chances of someone around you hearing the idea, then having the time and resources to execute that idea faster and better than you have is very slim. As others a have said, You will not be the first person to have that idea.

In fact you may find that telling people your idea could help you significantly as those people around you may be able to help you with ideas or introduce you to key people. 

Ideas are the easy part, execution is the only thing that matters.

Share the idea and see that it will only help create discussion. You will find people will question your ideas as well which is good, so don't be nervous of that either. Often the people that will be most pessimistic/ challenge your idea are the people closest to you. Embrace it.

Set up a business plan and basic idea before telling people (as I imagine you have) then get started on the execution.

Hope you make the right idea and that the execution goes well! Good luck!

David Austin Relentless problem solver and innovator.

November 20th, 2016

Do a provisional patent so you can discuss it freely with anyone.  Should cost no more the $100 to do on you own through USPTO (less if you're a micro-entity).  Then cast your net as far and wide as humanly possible.  Most everone here is right about people not wanting to steal your idea no matter how good it is ... Especially the kind of devs who you want to work for you.  Competing entrepreneurial types make horrible devs anyway most times, and the best devs have no interest in being pure entrepreneurs.  They just want to be part of a successful team / project, and make decent money.  You provide that for them.