Published: 7 years ago

Nobody is going to steal your idea

Almost every potential client who contacts me asks me to sign an NDA before disclosing their idea or project. Let me tell you what I think about it: it’s bullshit.

I do respect their wishes, and I sign them reluctantly. But when it comes to my own ideas, I’m the biggest mouth on earth. Seriously, I can’t stop talking about my ideas to other people. I’m eager to get their feedback.

No one is going to steal my ideas, because my ideas are worth nothing. You could have an amazing idea, but if you don’t execute it, it will always be worth zero. Nada. Niente. People are too busy with their own things to stop what they are doing to execute your idea, and if they have the time to do it, believe me, they won’t do it.

Even if they want to steal your idea, there are many things they won’t be able to steal. They can’t steal your passion, your domain expertise, or the time you’ve spent thinking about it at all day and night. And those are the things that, coupled with a great execution, generate a successful business.

On the other hand, if you share your idea, you may receive unexpected feedback, ideas, and insights. While having company advisors may cost you money or equity, you can have most of the same benefit for free simply by sharing your ideas. And remember, you can always share your ideas without necessarily spilling your secret sauce.

  • Cynthia Cortina

    Well said, Davide!

  • ebbflowgo

    write post when you become rich..

  • Michael Greenberg

    I preempt these scenarios by making every person I meet sign a “no-nda” agreement.

  • James Hall

    Couldn’t agree more. I hate signing NDA’s. If you really think im the type of person to steal your idea, we shouldn’t be talking about stuff anyways.  I’m WAY too busy to do that.

  • Adam Fullman

    I completely agree, Davide.  I have had clients call me for advice on moving forward with their “idea” but they are so afraid to share the details with me that they end up getting in their own way.  

  • Ed Toro

    For some, “selling the idea” is a business strategy: make a pitch, get investor cash, pay someone to do the work, and take a cut. That’s how it works on TV, especially in shows with characters that work in advertising or in commercials targeting “inventors”.

    Sales works the same way: find a client, pitch someone else’s product, close the deal, take a commission, and repeat. That’s what most people think running a company is like.

  • dingo

    I don’t see what the problem is with signing an NDA. You are just saying I’m not going to brag about what I here in this room. The reality of it is that only ideas that are literally worth nothing are not worth stealing. Everything else gets stolen all the time. Even things that have been protected by various means much more potent than an NDA get stolen all the time in the real world. There are lots of people with interesting ideas and no resources to develop them, just there like there are lots of folks with a lot of resources and no interesting ideas. 

  • Laurence McCahill

    Hi Davide

    great blog! 

    Couldn’t agree more. We work with early stage startups and try to communicate the same as what you’re saying. Ideas are 1%, it’s 99% team and execution (and sweat…).I’ve started blogging about our own startup ideas here, 100% open, warts and all. You’re welcome to follow our story:

    If anything it’s an exercise in seeing what happens when you open your heart and don’t hide anything.


  • nielsed

    Just saw this and just.. good post.

Some HTML is OK