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Quandry's avatar

How do you get help developing a computer application without your idea getting stolen?

Asked by Quandry (45 points ) October 7th, 2008

I have come up with an idea for a product that might be of interest to busy families. Where do I begin to find out if my idea has merit?

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10 Answers

Bri_L's avatar

Great question. I am curious to.

squirbel's avatar

Break your concept down into bite-size problems that must be coded. Get help on any individual nugget of code, or routine.

The main idea will never have to be revealed.

iJimmy's avatar

With a non-disclosure agreement.

bodyhead's avatar

I’m with squirbel. If you are working with people you do not trust, break it down.

I’d also go ahead and do some research on similar products. Surely there are some. No idea is completely original.

andrew's avatar

Ultimately, though, you need to trust someone in order to start work. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Execution, that’s another beat entirely.

cwilbur's avatar

Don’t worry about it. The amount of work required to go from an idea to a finished product is the hard part, and execution matters a lot more than originality. Look at Google, for instance—what sets them apart is how effective their search algorithm is and how likely you are to find what you’re searching for. But when they started out, people thought they were irrelevant because there were already a dozen competing search engines.

squirbel's avatar

cwilbur! hai!!!

andrew's avatar

*beast! Another beast!

jasonjackson's avatar

Seconding iJimmy: NDA everyone. And have a lawyer on hand to back it up. You cannot get a software project implemented well without communicating clearly and completely what you want.

I don’t think you’re going to be able to break a project down into discrete parts well enough or completely enough to use secrecy effectively, unless you already understand exactly how it will be implemented – and it doesn’t sound like that’s true in this case.

Also have a strong contract drawn up, stating who exactly owns the code that will be developed, and use it with each development team you work with. And, if it’s applicable in this case, apply for one or more patents.

Finally, understand that (as cwilbur said) the bright idea is truly the easy part. Implementation is one of the hard parts, but marketing is also hard. And depending on the scope of your concept, you may need to get investors/funding – that’s not always easy either, especially if you want to retain control of the project.

blister's avatar

I’m just throwing out my opinion here. I am a software developer/entrepreneur and this is my thought on the subject:

A) Idea’s are cheap. Implementation is expensive.
B) You’re probably the only one who really cares about your idea.
C) First one up the hill takes the arrows.

Basically: As a developer, I would never sign an NDA just to hear your idea. I have 1,000,000 ideas and so does just about every other person on the planet. You might have a few features that might be useful, but you really just have an idea.

The only benefit you have over anyone else is your passion for your idea. If you start working on your idea/product, you will already be ahead of any “competitors”.

I agree with cwilbur. Google’s idea is “we’re going to build a search engine that doesn’t suck.” If they told me that idea, I would say, “Awesome!” but would not be able to “steal their idea”. Don’t worry about it. If your idea is excellent, you’ll have no trouble getting other people on board to help you out. If it’s not that awesome, they’ll be able to help you out right away.

But if you start asking people to sign an NDA, you’ll instantly cut yourself off from all the best people in the industry. There aren’t many angel investors who will sign an NDA to hear your pitch and the ones that do are probably scamming you. And no developer worth his salt will sign an NDA just to hear an idea. They might have already had a similar idea.

Just start building your product. Be passionate. Be persistent. But whatever you do, don’t get lawyers involved until MUCH later in this process.

Hope this helps.

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