Stop signing NDAs, and start working!

Recently at a workshop I was giving to early-stage entrepreneurs, I was asked how far ideas can be protected from being copied or stolen by other likeminded individuals.

My answer was clear and simple: they can’t!

The entrepreneur was shocked and told me that every time he meets up with someone to talk about his idea, he would first ask the person to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) to keep his ideas protected.

It stuns me that people keep asking me about how to protect their ideas; whether they should defend them with NDAs, patents, or intellectual property rights. It’s even more stunning that people are so deeply convinced of their idea without having a clear understanding of what comes after that, which is actually executing the idea and building something. I don’t care if your idea is the next Google or Facebook. If you can’t execute, your idea remains worthless.

So, why should anyone bother to sign your NDA? If your idea is so easy to implement that the only barrier to get it done is a competitor, then it’s probably not a good idea anyway. A good idea has only value when combined with proper implementation, which includes the right team at the right time to get the job done.


If you’ve got a great idea then get busy. Launch it. Execute it. There is no substitute for hard work and execution.

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