Nobody Is Going to Steal Your Startup Idea


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You’ve been playing around with this startup idea you have. You’re deciding whether to pursue it or not. But of course, you don’t want somebody else to potentially steal your idea.

Before you can trust people, you think you should better make them sign an NDA, or even file a patent request. If you believe that’s right way to deal with this, you’re very wrong, my friend. In fact, that’s the worst idea you could have. Here’s why:


Your idea might not be as original as you think.

Do your research. If you don’t find any competitors, search again and again. Maybe it’s not the same exact product, but people might be using something to fulfill that need. You have to understand why it’s your product better than the competition.

When you tell people your startup idea, they will immediately tell you what other product/services you remind them of. It’s like an automatic reaction and it’s great for you. Make sure you look into every single competitor people mention you and analyze them.


People have different dreams than you.

Be serious. Why would others risk everything they have to pursue YOUR dream. You’re being delusional if you think they would burn money, change their life plans and pursue this idea you think it’s going to work. They will not have any passion or the talent for it either.

When people create startups, it takes a lot of sacrifice. You have to completely believe in it and be set to give your 110% to it.


Big companies have more to lose.

When you fail with your startup idea, it might be even expected. When a big company like Google, Facebook or Twitter have to pull the trigger off a product, it’s an epic failure. They can take a hit on the stock market and people get fired for this.

You probably think you have a lot to lose, but compared to them it’s nothing. And do you have any idea how many startup pitches they get? They probably want your startup idea to succeed to acquire you when your product has been validated.


Validation is important before building.

After pitching your startup idea, and why it would be better than the competition, the reaction and feedback you would get from people is very important. You can tell how excited (or confused) they are by it.

Try to pitch also to people who are not exactly your friends. It’s more likely they will give you honest feedback than the people who care about your feelings and don’t want you to feel unsupported.


Improve your startup pitch.

When you tell your startup idea, you will be actually rehearsing your startup pitch. You can measure what people understand, if they lose interest, and try different ways (and words) to present your idea, until you nail it.

Make sure you have practiced enough before talking about your startup idea with investors, accelerators and real clients. Also, make sure you don’t make one of the most common mistakes while pitching your startup.


You can reshape your startup idea if necessary.

If you see your product is not getting the reaction you were expecting, you can see if it doesn’t make sense at all. You can change the product and the angle to it until you find something that is necessary in the market.

It will help you to improve your startup idea by telling others. It’s cheaper and the more agile than doing any kind of market research. And you will prevent a pivot even before launching, which is always good.

Just remember that even if people steal your idea (which is unlikely), they will have a different vision of where the startup should move forward. Making your startup successful is extremely hard.

You should definitely not worry too much about someone stealing your startup idea, because when you’re creating a company, that’s the least of your problems.


  • Ernesto García

    Great post.

    One of the most common excuses not to talk about you idea is
    because “it’s not ready yet”…I’ll tell you about it when I’m done with my business
    plan/market research/interviews with customers/…

    Just get your idea “out in the wild” and be ready for the feedback.

  • edans

    You are AB-SO-LU-TE-LY right. There is o such thing as “somebody stole my idea”, but I keep listening that nonsense over and over coming from entrepreneurs. When they start like that, or even worse, when they ask me to sign an NDA, I don’t even listen to them: if they don’t trust me enough as to tell me their idea without signing that document first, I’m not interested in talking to them…

  • Rui Delgado


  • Rui Delgado

    Thanks Enrique for the comment!! An NDA is just nonsense for pitching a startup idea.

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  • Mark Johnston

    In a twist of irony, this blog post itself is a pitch. The author is pitching the idea that innovators should first be realistic researchers. Well said. As a dreamy-eyed innovator I appreciate that reminder. :) The thing the blog post doesn’t really spell out though is WHY. I can add some value from experience, I think. The purpose of research when inventing a product is to understand the customer market. To be frank I don’t give a hoot about the competition. As an inventor my job is to understand the customer , not the competitor, and not the investment angels’ often black and white (and understandably pessimistic) view of sales presentations.

    To wit, if you understand the customer better than your competitor or the investment community, and can prove it, you’re going to need an NDA.

    I encourage my fellow inventors to get to know customers and potential partners . Build strong relationships of trust and get in their heads. Understand what they really need, not what they think they need, and completely demolish any delusions about what YOU think they need. Forget about your competition. In fact I would say forget they even exist. Focus on the customer, they are the only ones that matter.

    And stop calling ourselves start ups. We are today’s inventors. Let’s invent and let the seeking of truth, not our competitors, be our guiding light. -M. Johnston, VP of Research and Cloud Product Development, Center for Digital Education, Folsom, Ca.

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