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- How can I sell my startup idea to someone?
There are millions of ideas and, I’ve discovered, perhaps just and as much advice and as many articles about ideas.
Asked, once again, by a founder, “How do I talk about my startup idea without someone stealing it?” I decided to take a look at how many questions and articles there are about Startup Ideas.
I stopped counting around 300…
Founders are Fixated on the Idea
We join incubators, we seek lawyers, patents, and NDAs to protect them, we quit jobs with them in mind, and we chase dreams of being wealthy and successful, all because of an idea.
“There’s some bizarre mythology that’s been created in the startup realm that ideas themselves have an incredible monetary value. Spoiler alert: they don’t.”Wil Schroter; Startups.com
I’ve not yet asked them all but I’d hazard a guess that if you ask every investor, mentor, or startup program director, they’d tell you the same thing, it’s not about the idea.
Neil Gaiman is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, nonfiction, audio theatre, and films. His works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book.
“But the truth is, it’s not the idea, it’s never the idea, it’s always what you do with it.”Neil Gaiman; author
EVERY day, founders need to sift through dozens, and pivot based on feedback and learning of what works and what doesn’t.
Society’s fixation on the idea is problematic. It implies ideas are unique. It implies founders have secrets to protect. It implies that people will fund or pay for that idea.
Ideas are temporary, dynamic, prolific, and fleeting.
Successful founders churn a dizzying array of ideas. They toss them, fast and efficiently.
What you need to have is a mission, vision, and values. (And resources).
I didn’t serve in the military but I have some great peer, friends, who did.
A startup is akin to the order to “take that hill.”
That’s a mission.
The vision is the plan. And our values explain how (what we will not do).
From there, we constantly try different ideas to achieve that mission. The idea is what fails.
The idea, is some soldier showing up and saying, “I have a pocket knife, I’m going to charge ahead and take it!” And you know those founders when you hear them… They don’t take feedback, they think they’re right, they think their idea is special because they had it.
With just the idea, nothing is going to happen. No one will follow that soldier and it has the slimmest chance in hell of actually taking that hill.
What’s the vision, what are our values, and what resources do we have to do it?
Resources? People, tools, capital.
What’s that saying about war? Once it starts, the plan goes out the window?
What works is when that charismatic leader with experience and vision, motivates people to stay focused on the mission, change plans, and keep trying different things until it works.
It’s time for the idea to die because the secret to success is that you should have another one before you finish reading this sentence.