The Myth of Stolen Ideas

Many first-time founders often worry that *their idea* will be stolen. This fear, while real, is entirely counterproductive.    Ideas are easy. Everyone has great ideas. With few exceptions, your idea is not unique and others have thought about it. And guess what? That is fine.

So here’s the truth:

You will not win the startup game because your idea is great; you will win the startup game because you learn and execute faster than your competition.

In fact, founders should talk about their idea early and often. When they do, two good things happen:

  • **They gain feedback. **Startups never end where they start. The journey from here to there matters. When you engage users, you will receive a spectrum of inputs — many of them should be incorporated into execution. Your job is to determine who will pay you for something.
  • **They gain momentum. **The best startups — and their competent, mission-driven founder(s) — motivate people. These motivated people will be your initial users, customers, supporters, employees, and evangelists. You can only attract these people by passionately describing your idea and vision.

Many aspiring entrepreneurs never get beyond the idea phase, which is not always a bad thing. Most people should not become entrepreneurs. But as entrepreneurs are working through the idea phase, they should talk to smart people about that idea.

Originally published on July 19, 2016.