Why Not To Worry About “Someone’s Going To Steal My Idea!”


If you’ve never been an entrepreneur, one of the things that might be holding you back from participating in a Startup Weekend is the notion that you might have THE IDEA OF THE CENTURY, and someone might steal it from you. You’ve got to quit worrying about that. It’s all about EXECUTION, not about IDEAS.

An idea for a successful business changes a number of times between conception and implementation. When you first have the idea, you haven’t done any customer validation, or dug into supplier issues, you don’t exactly know what your costs will really be… on and on. So, as the folks at Idaho Startup Weekend say, the short answer to “how do I prevent someone from stealing my idea,” is “you can’t.”

And the long answer is:

Unless you are confident your idea is a ‘key-in-hand’, easy-to-implement innovation that hasn’t yet been thought of (which it almost surely isn’t), the advantages gained from getting broad-based feedback and a strong team motivated by collective ownership far outweigh the remote risks of someone stealing and executing on your idea.

This fear about having an idea stolen is pervasive in every walk of life, and, frankly, in our opinion, it’s all about procrastination. Moria Allen of Writing-World.com says it well. “To be absolutely blunt, this is a fear one hears only among amateur writers. Professional writers have lots of concerns of their own, but this isn’t one of them.”

The bottom line is that it takes a lot of work, talent, and cooperation to make even the best of ideas fly. One of the purposes of Startup Weekend is to introduce you to that wellspring of work, talent, cooperation, and people who can take your idea and make it even better — right where you live.

Or, to be totally geeky about it, as Derek Sivers, an entrepreneur and programmer says, “Ideas are just a multiplier of execution.”