NDAs Are Often Misused & Dumb!

By Spicer Matthews

Startups without a product are always asking me to sign a NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement), and everytime I think about refusing. It just seems misguided. There is a time and a place for an NDA but starting a company is not one of them. I realize lawyers are advising their clients to play it safe. This is poor advice, it does not holistically help your company succeed. Lawyers are focused on protecting you. They are not focused on building a great team, marketing to the masses, and building buzz around your company and product.

When you are starting a company you want everyone in the world to know about your product and service. Marketing is expensive and time consuming. Why not get the ball rolling? Why not tell everyone in the world what you are doing? The sooner possible customers, partners, and employees start to engage with your company and get energized, the better.

Most people think they are protecting some great idea. I would guess 99% of all ideas have already been thought of by someone else and someone is already working on it. If your idea is so powerful you should be filing a patent to protect it, not NDAs. It is about how you execute. It is about the million decisions you make day in and day out that leads to the special DNA of your company and your product.

Again, if your idea is so special, go apply for a patent. In all other cases start focusing on how you are going to build a great company with great products. Rather than hiding behind NDAs, stand on the tallest mountain you can find and tell everyone about how you are going to change everything with your company. Rally the troops and start building!