Once upon a time, I was scared of sharing my ideas because I believed that other people could run off with my ideas. Even worse, I was scare of criticism and the possibility of having my ideas invalidated or having to go back to rework them. So I kept my lips shut and I kept them protected in the confines of by brain and kept refining (or so I thought I was doing) till the perfect moment of execution during which my superior idea will outshine everything else. But with time, I found out that such an approach for a number of reasons is quite misguided.
Obviously, I don’t mean telling everyone you come across about your ideas down the finest and most intricate details. Rather, I mean letting people in on a general outline of your ideas which can be easy to understand and garner criticism and feedback. For example, something like: “I have an idea for a startup which helps owners of trucks and moving businesses better utilized empty space by developing a platform which links people who want to move with people who own trucks.” This is a very basic outline which says little about the underlining technology or how exactly the platform will be developed but says a lot about what the business does.
Nothing makes an idea better than being refined through the interactions and criticism of those it would affect or just others in general. Some will say your ideas are feasible while others will say they are not while others even question your ability to execute. Some will point out the strengths and weakness of you idea while you might gain key insights which no amount of thinking can ever show you. That feedback is key in going back and fine tuning things. In others cases, you might even abandon the project altogether and embark on other things.
For example, I have a presentation which I will be making towards the end of this month for my startup. I originally planned to have the presentation done in the last week of June. But when the organizers of the presentation took a look at my presentation and my business model, they had a billion question and criticisms. Furthermore, they felt my business model was not full proof and requested that I clarify some areas and come up with some key metrics and calculations. Nothing asked had easy answers and took weeks to work on. But through that experience, I came out with a business model on firmer footing.
One thing I have come to discover; this perhaps is the most important. Talk is cheap! Many people talk about how they have great ideas but never execute for many reasons. Some might feel they don’t yet have the experience or resources to execute while others might have commitments which tie them them down. Even some of the most brightest people who might have all it takes and are technically savvy might be poor in execution (e.g. fear) while others who might be of average intelligence or might not yet know all the answers still execute but figure things out as they move along.
An idea protected from external feedback and criticisms is like an industry protected from competition. Industries protected from interaction with other producers, never produce at their peak potential and never serve consumers and society to the best of their abilities. In the same way protected ideas never become the best they can be and in the end will not serve those they meant to serve at the most optimal level possible.