Ideas are free! Talk about yours.

Ideas are worthless. Execution is everything.

Everybody has ideas. If you have been working in some industry for enough time, you certainly have ideas how it can be improved. I heard a lot of ideas from developers who run through an HR recruiting process. It’s actually still awful most of the time. Probably that’s the reason why so many startups out there in HR industry trying to change it. Anyway, no matter what you do, you have ideas how it can be improved. Everybody have.

But ideas are worthless. Taking an idea and transforming into a successful new product, however, is a much more challenging proposition. Marketing and growth, product building and fundraising, team building and financial management are hard. Building a successful business out of the idea is extremely hard.

Execution is everything. Your ability to establish and run a company is the only thing that matters. Your business plan is cool and looks great, but it worthless, because in many ways it’s just guessing. You don’t have to invent the market and be the first mover to succeed. Google wasn’t the very first search engine as well as Facebook wasn’t the first social network. For every Facebook, there are hundreds of Orkuts.

“I don’t care if the other team has our playbook. We are going to out execute them!” Vince Lombardi.

It doesn’t matter how good, innovative, game-changing and market-breaking your idea. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas. Because the only thing that matters is your ability to execute.

Talk about your idea

When you’re thinking about a product idea, you are taking a lot of assumptions. How it will be used, by whom, when and where ( I hope you take it into account too ), how much customers will pay and even the very basic thing — is there a need for your product, in many cases is just an assumption. You need to be laser focused on validating these assumptions as soon as possible. You need to reach out to people and figure out if the problem you believe exists, is a problem people actually have. Moreover, they want it to be solved. Then you need to figure out if the solution solves that problem for people. If you keep your idea secret, you’re delaying this validation. Each day you’re not spending on idea validation, you increasing the danger that you are spending time and probably money on a problem which doesn’t really exist or a solution which doesn’t solve a problem. In other words, you need to talk about your idea before you have any product.

Consider asking friends and colleagues for their thoughts. In many cases, they might be able to connect you with someone else who can help turn your idea into reality. Talk about your idea with potential customers and vendors. If you are going to build a solution for a problem, the first thing you have to do is to talk to those people who are experiencing the problem. Those who need your solution.

Please don’t ask me to sign an NDA

Don’t even think about. I’m not going to sign your NDA.

First of all, when you ask me to sign your NDA, you’re basically saying that you don’t trust me. But if you don’t trust me, why have you asked me to help you? Makes no sense.

I’m not going to pay a lawyer to review a document without having any idea why I even should make that investment. And no, I won’t “just sign it” without having a lawyer look it over.

If I’ll meet a potential investor, vendor or employee who can be valuable for you, don’t you want me to talk about you and your idea?

Finally, don’t you ever forget - ideas are worthless, execution is everything.

Summary

Every startup should start with laser-focused product discovery. Talk to your potential customers, understand the needs and wants, understand people’s behaviour, make prototypes and show them. Talk about your idea. If you keep it in secret, you increase the chances to bury it under a thick layer of assumptions.