When you’ve stumbled upon a great startup idea, there are some practical approaches to sharing as much practical information publicly as you possibly can while keeping your most important cards close to you and sharing them with a limited group of people in a limited way.
Large companies appear to share everything with the public and seem transparent in their dealings and yet they manage to keep some matters within the organization. Within this environment, one needs to share all kinds of internal information with large groups of people including employees, sub-contractors, board members, key partners etc.
Look at Steve Jobs! Someone who is known to be obsessive about this (perhaps from past experiences) and whose most recent problems with Eric Schmidt from Google on their board is global news. Those of us observing from a distance will have our own views but does it really matter? Does it make Apple perform better under this pressure or is a more open approach better? We believe both ways have proven to work and eventually, it’s about how well you and company performs and not about the ideas (Tablet anyone?).
The way to share your business idea is to make claims on how you business idea will materialize, what it will do for the markets and how it will evolve after. Focus on the problems and issues the markets face and how you will address these issues and fix those problems.
As for the “how” part, that is the really sensitive information. This is the bit you want to share with only those you feel comfortable sharing your idea with. If you find they are only interested in the “how part” and haven’t paid much attention to the other stuff you’ve shared or bothered to get to know you and your team (through phone calls, email exchanges, meetings etc) then our advice is don’t feel obligated to start with the “deepest parts of the how”.
This applies to all the people you are looking to have join your company co-founders, partners, employees and so on. However, if they seem genuinely interested in working with you, you don’t really have too much of an option. If you want your idea to materialize and take it to markets. You’ll have to take that leap and share information or risk losing out on time and the opportunity to make it work. It’s just one of those decisions you’ll have to make and just the way business works.
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