I have been receiving questions from people who want to enter our competition but are worried about getting their ideas stolen by some nefarious individual. This is an understandable concern and I can appreciate the reticence to throw an idea into the ether, but I think this worry can be overblown by a lot of first-time founders. If your idea is so simple that anyone can steal it (while being so compelling that someone would want to) then you are in a lot of trouble already. Someone can build a product similar to yours, but what will allow you to build it better? More importantly, how will you build the company that will execute on all the factors necessary to grow and defend your revenue?
Companies exist because of one thing: the people who choose to give you money for the value you create. If someone can replicate that value and steal your potential customers, wouldn’t you rather know that prior to pouring your heart into a startup? If, however, you can do it better than everyone else then what is stopping you? You should be telling everyone about your idea in order to generate feedback, spur interest and hopefully garner some traction. Hell, you may even make a sale. You have nothing to lose by standing on the mountain top and shouting your idea to the world. If you do have something to lose then you have lost already.
If you have some magical twist or innovative take that makes your business model or product unique, then by all means hold that back. Nobody needs to get the recipe for your secret sauce, they just have to know that it’s delicious. If the Google founders pitched you on a new search engine in 1998, would you have bit? Alternatively, would you have run home to steal their idea? Could you have? They didn’t invent the search engine, they invented one that was better than what everyone else created. The cogs of marketing, finance, operations, etc, exist today to defend their revenue and invest in new initiatives, but none of this would have existed if they did not take an existing idea and make it better. So that is my challenge to you; don’t just make an idea, make one that is better. We can bring the tech, but what are you bringing to the table?