Thursday, August 27, 2009

Innovation strikes not in a vacuum.

I live on a ranch in East Texas. It's about 50miles to the nearest city (Austin, TX). Schlepping my butt to town just for a lunch or coffee meeting would seem a huge waste. In reality, it is those lunches and coffees (and sometimes beers) I have with friends that help to congeal my best ideas into much, much better ones.

The reason is simple. Innovation rarely strikes in a vacuum. It can't really. Who would buy it, care about it, or even THINK it is innovative if it only stays in your head or in your personal lab. (yes I have a lab at my home :) )

Anyways, what I've found is that taking the time to TELL someone about your ideas, reveals its complexity, its holes, and hopefully its value. Many Engineers, myself included, worry about people stealing our ideas. It's down-right silly. To get from your brief description of an idea to a business is a LONG road, one that few people are willing to take. So share, learn, and innovate.

By the way, in a future post, I'll explain how to patent protect your best ideas for less than $200 (total). Then you REALLY don't have to worry about talking to people about it, right?


  1. Even if the people you talk to like your idea enough to steal it, they might not have the personality to pull it off. It takes a certain kind of guts to be an entrepreneur and not everyone has that - even the smart ones.

  2. Totally Agree,

    That said, Engineers have trouble with this, I know I did. Took me several startups to learn this!

    reason is I think Engineers have "figured out how to do the innovation" and assume it will be easy for others.... the opposite is true of course!

  3. Talking ideas through with others builds momentum as you improve, validate, and ultimately establish a group of supporters who want to see your idea succeed.

  4. It's funny because most people I run into are usually on the other side of this. I always have people telling me they want me to sign their NDA, and I never use one. I always say that ideas are a dime a dozen, execution is everything.

    Another thing about NDA's: unless you are paying a fantastic lawyer good money, your NDA is probably full of holes and impossible to enforce. So, don't bother.

    Also, another thing I run across pretty frequently is people who, as a knee-jerk reaction, ask me to sign an NDA... but then don't have one and end up dropping the whole idea of dealing with one. If you think you're going to want someone to sign an NDA, better have one ready so you're not wasting everyone's time!

    Last thing, most people with the $MONEY$ won't sign them anyway.


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