Nobody Cares About Your Idea
I recently asked members of my personal email list to share their side project ideas with me if they wanted. A few friends of mine reached out to me after and said this: "you can't ask people to share their ideas with you, they'll be too scared you steal them".
My first reaction? Oh My F***ing God. Pardon my French!
It made me laugh, then it got me thinking deeply: laughing about this was very unfair since I was there when I started my first company 6 years ago. I was so scared that someone would steal my idea of funding African female farmers that I ended up completely screwing my business.
As a result, when launching my second startup, I shared my idea with everybody I could, so much so that some people were even avoiding me. I was literally living and breathing my startup, talking about it everytime I could. Most feedbacks I got from doing that were essential to bring the business forward.
From there, I learned this: most of us don't care about other people's ideas.
As harsh as it may sound, most people really won't care at all about your idea, hence won't bother spending their time trying to execute on it.
Have you ever seen a business on TV or on the Internet and felt "I had exactly the same idea"? We've almost all felt that, and that's a good thing. It tells you that ideas are not exclusive.
Ideas are cheap, and nobody cares about them. What people care about is how you execute on that very idea you cherish so much.
Ideas don't matter. Execution does.
What makes something successful is not that genius idea of yours, but the unique combination of your idea, the team you assemble to work on it, and how that team executes on that very idea. If you need an example, look further than Uber. I am sure you can name a plethora of competitors... But none of them that has beaten Uber so far.
Please, do me a favour: if you have a side project idea, never hesitate to share it. The input you'll get from those who care about you is worth it, and far superior to the risk of seeing your idea stolen. If ever there is such a thing as stealing ideas...
This is a slightly edited version of the Letter #5 of my Monday newsletter "MAKING", to which you can subscribe here.