Re: RE: Re: [newtech-1] When pitching an idea, how to prevent idea from being stolen?

From: Ryan J.
Sent on: Monday, July 29, 2013 12:37 AM
By all means protect yourself. But protect yourself when you've developed an idea to the point that it's worth protecting. Yes, protect your "secret sauce" and/or invention, but using an NDA as a sort of "default protection" when merely talking about *an idea* at a high-level with someone not only doesn't make sense, but is also often symptom of a general mindset about your startup that will set you up for failure before you've even began.

Waking up one morning with *an idea* that has no "secret sauce", no tangible realization, no concrete strategy, and no demonstrable traction, and then making your team members sign NDAs is inappropriate (there's nothing worth NDA'ing yet) and stifles an environment that is conducive to learning since you've limited your ability to gather crucial feedback from others outside your network. Arguably (and I would argue) this insight is far more important for an entrepreneur at such an early stage than protecting your "in-theory" product from "in-theory" idea thieves.

As a consultant and web developer who has worked with dozens of startups, I see a lot of this.

Now if you've been working in your basement for the last year on a process that turns water into liquid gold, get your patent straight away. You can't be compared to someone who doesn't even really understand what their idea is yet, let alone the audience it caters to and the value it brings. Ideas aren't inventions, and for that reason I don't believe seeking the same level of protection for them is sensible.

What does an NDA really mean? When is it appropriate? How enforceable is it? What are the business side-effects of having NDAs and similar legal structures in place when they aren't appropriate? What are we afraid of? History can tell us a few things. We're planning to go into this in detail next month, citing sources and specific cases from the past.

And by the way, never offering legal advice here. Simply an alternative perspective.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Ryan Jafari

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