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What if someone steals my idea?

What if someone steals my idea?

There is a common misconception I see in almost every budding Entrepreneur (Me included) and it’s this: We over-value our ideas. Unfortunately, in 99.99% of cases, our idea is worthless; not bad, often it can be brilliant, but worthless all the same, and acting to protect it can severely hurt the more important part of running a project: Execution.

This usually manifests in the fear of having your idea stolen, hence the title of this post. In reality; ideas are cheap. It is the execution which is the challenge. Everyone has ideas, everyone has the same ideas, statistically no matter how awesome you think your idea is someone who has the capital to execute on it better than you also has the capital to hire people smarter than you to come up with their own ideas (which they don’t have much reason not to do over stealing yours).

To put it another way, an idea cannot do anything by itself, if you can do a good execution even with a bad idea you still get infinitely further than just an idea by itself. The Breakout ideas which become super successful seem like they are only so successful because of their idea, but that is survivorship bias; the most important thing that they had was a first class execution and the ones you hear about are the ones with a first class execution and an idea which is just good enough to put it above everything else with the same first class execution.

What is the difficult part in Entrepreneurship, or any business in general, is actually getting stuff done, and is why people value experience and past projects so highly, even if they ended up not being so successful. Organising people, motivating them and yourself, persevering through to see your project to completion is difficult, and what Entrepreneurs do. This is not even considering all the work that goes into the actual execution.

What if someone does steal my idea?

In most cases, they won’t, or it won’t matter much, but if it does, that isn’t even necessarily a bad thing. If you are a big company that’s one thing, but if you are really small, the “underdog” and someone bigger than you clearly copies your idea, the publicity you can get from exposing them is probably much more valuable than any damage from them using your idea in the first place.

In the off chance that it doesn’t, and it does end up hurting you, in almost every case the damage and lost opportunities you receive from being secretive would far outweigh any risk from someone taking your idea and using it.

Why is being secretive a bad idea?

There are 2 main reasons:

  1. For your project: You need to start generating a crowd for your project early, not on launch day. Getting people interested is a slow process, and needs time to build momentum. Whatever your marketing strategy is, it is never a bad idea to start getting people interested as early as possible, and often necessary, so hiding it is just crippling your idea from the start.
  2. For yourself: If you are going to spend time or money on your idea, you need to know if it is worth it. The only way to know for sure is to start generating interest for it. If no-one is interested, then you should probably revise your idea. If people are interested, then great! You passed one of the hardest hurdles.

Just to give you another perspective, I recommend checking out these two articles and I whole-heartedly recommend Stonemaier’s blog as well.

Lastly, if you want to have a look at the projects we have in development; Check out the alphas available here.

Good luck on your projects! And let me know if you have any experiences on this topic in the comments.