On Monday you’ll see my notes on the book by Eric Ries called “The Lean Startup: How Constant Innovation Creates Radically Successful Businesses”.
But I couldn’t wait until then to share this with you.
There is one section in there that talks about how many of us have ideas that we think are great and could potentially be turned into Start-Up company’s, but we hesitate getting started or even sharing the idea with people because we are worried the idea will quickly be stolen and we will end up with nothing.
I bet it does.
You and I both have this fear I’m sure.
Here’s what Eric Ries has to say on the issue:
The most common objection I have heard over the years to building an Minimal Viable Product is fear of competitors – especially large established companies – stealing a startup’s ideas.
If only it were so easy to have a good idea stolen!
Part of the special challenge of being a startup is the near impossibility of having your idea, company, or product be noticed by anyone, let alone a competitor.
In fact, I have often given entrepreneurs fearful of this issue the following assignment: take one of your ideas (one of your lesser insights, perhaps), find the name of the relevant product manager at an established company who has responsibility for that area, and try to get that company to steal your idea. Call them up, write them a memo, send them a press release—go ahead, try it.
The truth is that most managers in most companies are already overwhelmed with good ideas. Their challenge lies in prioritization and execution, and it is those challenges that give a startup hope of surviving.
If a competitor can out execute a startup once the idea is known, the startup is doomed anyway.
The reason to build a new team to pursue an idea is that you believe you can accelerate through the Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop faster than anyone else can.
If that’s true, it makes no difference what the competition knows.
If it’s not true, a startup has much bigger problems, and secrecy won’t fix them.
Sooner or later, a successful startup will face competition from fast followers.
A head start is rarely large enough to matter, and time spent in stealth mode – away from customers – is unlikely to provide a head start.
The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.
What do you think about this? Does this allay some of your fears? Useful? Not useful?
Let me know in the comments below.