NDA or “you can’t have the same idea”

Luka Chkhetiani
Aug 9, 2018 · 3 min read

Mostly in the tech world, the NDA is a popular thing. NDA means a non-disclosure agreement, which protects your idea from being stolen.
Let’s agree, as big companies, investors and even Silicon Valley inspires people to come up with new business ideas, tech solutions or startups, it’s pretty hard to think about something, that hasn’t been even thought by anyone. And later on, executing it is much more intense work than actually thinking about a new idea.
Most of the experts would say, that success is about 1% idea and 99% execution. Personally, I agree with that.


If you look around, you’ll see some companies with tech or non-tech solution services, that have amazing success, pretty good income and almost everything that new startup would ever wish to have.


“How they do it” is a pretty interesting question.
The answer is simple execution.

They just create a special, “one-thing oriented” solution that is demanded by the market and a pretty good business plan, good timing, few connections and one big initial project is a key to enter the market. For instance, let’s take Airbnb — the idea of renting homes online was not a game-changing idea for 2008. But what happened?
Good timing — The crisis in the subprime mortgage market have begun in 2007 which then developed into one huge international crisis era. In the beginning, people thought that the idea of allowing strange people to rent a room in the same house was crazy. But later on, when they found out that extra cash is always appreciated, and they could use their extra rooms as an additional income source, they started to use the service.
And now, look at them — their revenue was 2.7 billion USD by 2017.

So, just remember — there are more than seven billion humans on the planet, and all of them have different ideas, and all of them think their idea is game-changing. Only the ones, who knows what is execution and how it should be done, are successful.

When you are trying to pitch an idea to the possible investor, trying to make them sign an NDA, think twice about it.

Firstly, almost all the investors are investing in a group of people, or a person, not in an idea. If the idea is just an idea, then you have pretty low chances of getting funding.

If you already have a prototype, you have nothing to worry about — if someone steals your idea, turning it into a product will be such a huge deal for them. They’ll lose extra money, extra recourses and still may not have the same technology as your own. A good investor always knows the equilibrium between how good the idea is to be executed, and how good the idea is for the needed execution recourses.

Just think, is the idea really worth of NDA?

If you have execution plan and the steps, that should be covered to get maximum attention of the consumers, then you shouldn’t think about it — you need the NDA for sure.

A simple way to get “NDA-like document”, that legally works is to appoint a meeting via email, by a brief explanation of the idea you’re going to pitch them. Email has actual legal importance, and in any case, you could use it as an evidence.

The main point of the whole writing is to distinguish the NDA-needed “plans” from just ideas.
Remember, if they steal your idea, they still need huge resources to have the same technology as you have, they need to invest money in the management, marketing, design and etc. Reverse-engineering anyone’s product is a pretty hard thing to do. And if it’s easy in some case, than the previous company wasn’t worth to own it.

Luka Chkhetiani

Founder, Researcher — SYSTEM CORP.

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