The worst thing a potential entrepreneur can (not) say about their idea.

As a person with entrepreneurial tendencies I try to run in a lot of circles with idea people. Commonly,  I’ll meet someone at an event or gathering and over drinks (which is a fancier way of saying in between flip cup games let’s be honest) we’ll start talking about our ideas. These idea conversations about the future and potential always have a way of energizing and motivating me, much more so than talking about the weather, sporting events, and especially gossip about other people. It makes me just want to leave the party, go home, and get to work.

The conversation inevitably drifts towards personal ideas and entrepreneurship. I’ll say something like “So what are you working on now?”, and the conversation always goes one of two ways. Most times, my conversation partner will say something directly about their business idea like “Oh, I’m working on a hotel for dogs!”, or state the problem that their business solves to make it seem more feasible, like “Well, do you ever get tired of how mayonaise is always white?” Totally respectable. I’m on board. Conversation continues.

But every once in awhile, you get the pleasure of talking to an absolute gem who says something akin to “Well I don’t want to talk about it in case someone steals it, but it’s a really good idea!”. A mysterious and vaguely superior smile creeps across their face at the same time mine is replaced by a blank stare.

The best thing about alcohol is that it always has a way of bringing out the truth, which is to say:

That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

What the fuck is the point of coming up with a brilliant idea if you are afraid to expose it to the world, and how on earth are you going to find out if it is actually brilliant if you clutch your idea to your chest and shield it from any and all criticism?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned failing over and over again in business, it’s that you can’t do it alone. Telling people about your business is how you accumulate talent to actually make your idea a reality. I promise with absolute certainty that 100% of all of the supposed entrepreneurs who have ever said “I have a great idea but I don’t want to tell anyone so they don’t steal it.” have failed. And I’m not talking about the good kind of failed, the ‘I gave it my all but it didn’t work out’ failed, the ‘ I risked all my money on something I thought would work and it didn’t, but I learned a lot’ failed. NO. I’m talking about the worst failure of all: The failure of complete and total inaction. 

Remember folks, ideas are for sharing. Unless your head is empty enough for a prototype of your idea to literally be manufactured inside your head, you need to let go of the secrecy and the bullshit. I know it’s fun to keep things a secret, but we’re not in 3rd grade anymore. Get off your high horse. No one is going to steal the idea from your lips, put it in production and make a million dollars. And if they do, you don’t deserve a penny. Any idiot can come up with a good idea.

If you’ve read my review on his book, you know that I’m a fan of Gary Vaynerchuk and have been following him for a few months now. As he so eloquently states: Ideas are shit, and execution is the only thing that matters.

Keep sharing!

Eric

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