When I came to study in Berkeley, I didn’t like sharing my ideas with anyone. I think most Brazilians are like that, because we’re afraid of having them stolen. Soon after moving to Silicon Valley, I learned that’s a terrible mistake for potential entrepreneurs. One of my reasons for creating a blog was to encourage people to share their ideas!
Not sharing your idea means:
Not receiving feedback from potential clients. When telling your idea to someone who might become a user of your product or service, you can get a better sense of their needs and interests.
Not receiving feedback from more experienced people, or other pespectives. Opinions beside your own may be able to predict other problems you might face, problems you may never have considered.
Missing out on opportunities. You might meet someone who is interested in your idea, who might want to work with you, or even invest.
The fear of being copied isn’t really justified. An idea isn’t worth anything if its execution is lacking. If you already have an ongoing business, it’s also not a reason not to share your projects. You’re already a step ahead of whoever tries to copy you. They’ll have to do a lot to catch up.
And if they copy you successfully, congratulations on your good idea. But congratulations to them, too, for having applied it better. Move on, work on your weaknesses, and don’t give up.
Competition will always exist, including in the world of innovation. There are several relevant examples. For instance:
Uber X Lyft
SnapChat X Instagram Story (can you think of a more blatant copy?)
The important part is doing it well. If you think a product or service still isn’t good enough, that’s reason to launch a competitor in and of itself. My main idea isn’t new, but I’m not satisfied with any of the products that already exist. That’s why I’ll try to do it right, sharing my ideas.
If you want to share your idea here, let me know! I want other people to write for the blog, sharing their ideas and experiences. The next post won’t be mine — wait until next week to find out who it will be!