As many of you may know, about three months a ago I co-founded a job board for iPhone developers. Since then, the question I get asked most often (aside from “how are you going to monetize this?”), is “is there a way to protect my ideas?” Well, yes, there is. It’s common sense.
Let’s assume for a minute that you’re looking for an attorney via an ad on a job board, would you post a very detailed ad explaining your exact situation and why you’re in need of an attorney? Or would you simply list the requirements or area of expertise needed to handle your particular situation? I’m assuming you’d leave out the details. So why not do the same when looking for an iPhone developer (or any developer for that matter)? If you are planning to develop an amazing 3D game, there’s no need to disclose details of the game. You can simply create an ad listing the skills and expertise needed. In this case, a listing for a developer with gaming experience, 3D animation and other similar skills may be helpful. And, if you’re uncertain of the skills that would be needed or the technological terms, keep it general and be creative; I’m sure you can come up with a good way to describe you’re idea without disclosing too much. Chances are, if you wouldn’t tell anyone about certain details before making them sign an NDA, then you may not want to include those details in your ad on a job board.
Also, in my opinion, we shouldn’t be afraid to share our ideas. Often, an idea by itself is worth almost nothing. However, what will really make your idea successful is your marketing strategy, network, passion, dedication and hard work. Besides, most developers are too busy to stop everything they are working on and go after your idea. If they do have that much time on their hands, you worrying about them stealing your idea may not be warranted.