How Secret Should You Be With Your Startup Idea?

Yesterday at Seattle Open Coffee I had an nice conversation with an entrepreneur who was working on a patent on some cutting-edge technology in the green / energy efficiency realm.  He was a little reluctant to talk details about his idea, what with his patent application still not finalized.

We got to talking about the need to keep mum for intellectual property reasons.  I started out very secretive about the details of my idea for Crowdify; but at some point all of the anecdotal evidence about the benefits of just getting your damn product launched became overwhelming and I launched an early-alpha version of Crowdify on May 31. My friend from yesterday is not ready to open his kimono just yet.

This morning I read a nice post on Fred Wilson’s blog titled “Do Loose Lips Sink Ships?”, exploring the same idea.  Fred’s key takeaway:

I think that last point is the clincher. “If an entrepreneur is incrementally more prepared (should it be equipped?) to execute on an idea” then they should be as open as possible.

I agree. Execution is the key differentiating factor, ESPECIALLY for Web 2.0-type startups. Get your product launched, iterate the hell out of it, improve every day.

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2 Responses to “How Secret Should You Be With Your Startup Idea?”


  1. 1 Adam June 4, 2008 at 7:33 am

    Mark Fletcher said it best:
    “2. Stealth startups suck. You’re not working on the Manhattan Project, Einstein. Get something out as quickly as possible and promote the hell out of it.” (http://www.startupping.com/forums/showthread.php?t=347)

  2. 2 Damon June 4, 2008 at 8:21 am

    Agree with Adam. Execution beats ideas any day. While technology doesn’t really provide a long term advantage, execution requires things that money can’t buy like passion and drive. If you’re building a business that you truly believe in, you won’t be beat by someone that has access to the same technology you have.

    The fact that someone wants to copy your technology is a great thing. It provides validation to your business idea and that should only stoke your fire.


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