General Question

btamayo's avatar

I have a revolutionary idea for a web application and I don't know what I should do with it?

Asked by btamayo (14points) June 28th, 2007

It will do what Google maps did for finding directions, it is one of those slap yourself on the head ideas that you wish you would of came up with first. I am a graphic designer, not a programmer. I think creatively and visually all the time. I have great ideas all the time, but none like this. I don't have the money to pay someone to build it because it would be more than i could afford. I am afraid of talking about it too much, because I'm afraid the second Google catches wind of it they will take it. Can anyone help?

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12 Answers

mirza's avatar

1. firstly do not tell anyone about the idea -- ppl will try to steal it.
2. get in touch with web developers and programmers to make it for you in exchange for stocks, ads watever.
3. if you have friends who are into computers, ask them to develop it for you.
4. if not, ask people online
5. do not tell the idea

if you dont get anyone to make it for you, i could help with it in exchange for links on your future website to my own website.

also, google for sites related to your idea to check out the competition.

pwalmsley's avatar

Get a good web designer. A great idea can be ruined by awful site design.

segdeha's avatar

Look into NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) to cover yourself from having your IP (intellectual property) stolen. Then, you can more safely share your idea with people who are qualified to tell you if you're really onto something.

btamayo's avatar

Thanks for all the feedback!
Mirza, I have tried googling my idea for about a week now and I can't even find a potential competitor.

(segdha) Thanks for mentioning the NDAs. I'm sure I can either find a template online or make a simple one for people to fill out.

Does anyone know if there is a way to patent an idea for web application, especially as of now if it hasn't been done.

(and believe me when I say haven't been done, I mean it will probably be any day now when a site with my exact idea pops up.)

samkusnetz's avatar

unless you can produce a blueprint or set of plans for your idea, don't bother with a patent. just do it right away. being the first to offer what you've got is more powerful than any kind of patent, especially if you do it right.

ben's avatar

I agree with what most people are saying here, but I could add a few thoughts:
1.) Back in the early days of Fluther, I refused to talk to anyone about the idea. But it's hard to "hire" people for an idea you can't talk about. Now I'm convinced in general the risk of getting an idea stolen is quite low--it just takes a ton of time and commitment to start a company, and very few people will quit the job to try. So I wouldn't be too anxious about this, even though I know you are. What I would do is find a few trusted advisers in the industry who can weigh in on the idea and its merit, and help you decide how to proceed.

2.) Back in the day, I also filed a provisional patent on Fluther. This is cheap and will protect you for a year, but I agree with Sam. Don't bother. Software patents are a big mess, and very expensive. For a tiny startup, they just don't make sense. Users are more important. Friendster has the patent on social networking, but methinks they'd happily trade places with myspace or Facebook.

3.) Even if you can't find any similar sites, there are already people working on your idea (esp. if it's a simple/great one). I promise. As a matter of fact, they will probably beat you to market. Be prepared for that. That's doesn't mean you won't succeed. If you really believe in this idea, start on it now. Start on it yesterday. Seriously.

4.) I'd recommend reading Guy Kawasaki's "Art of the Start." It will get your blood pumping.

bob's avatar

Very exciting!

At some point, you might want to find a partner who will be in charge of the programming side of the operation--someone to assess the idea--its potential, the complexity of the site, etc. If you find someone you can trust, with really good skills, you could form a company with that person. It's hard to imagine that you will be able to take this idea all the way, or most of the way, without a partner on the programming side. Or I could be way wrong.

Ben is smart and his best advice above is "find a few trusted advisers in the industry who can weigh in on the idea and its merit, and help you decide how to proceed."

Go for it. And put up a link on this question when your site goes live.

segdeha's avatar

bob's advice is good. Find a trusted partner to go in on building the idea with you. I don't remember where I read it, but the following advice made sense to me: if you can't find *one* other person to get excited about your dream, then maybe your dream isn't very exciting!

twilliams's avatar

A partner (particularly a strong developer in this case) is a good idea not only for the moral and business support, but also because external parties (think VCs) generally feel better about extending investing to a team over an individual.

Best of luck with your idea. We look forward to seeing the results...

Vincentt's avatar

You could also start an "open source" project. This means that you just share the code free for anyone to see, modify and redistribute, providing the authors will still be mentioned and a few other restrictions (see for more info). You then start a new project on and you might find someone willing to collaborate on it with you. Sure, someone might be able to steal it (though I think it would only garner little attention from potential thieves on a big site like SourceForge) but this product will most likely be better because of the people working on it and the ease of improving it.

Oh, and btw, you can just ask money for it, even if it's open source. Fact is - you can't do it alone.

segdeha's avatar

Google also hosts open source projects:

Vincentt's avatar

Google does host open source projects, and there are more hosts (I prefer but SourceForge has many more users (developers) who might be able to help you out. If you're ever starting a project on your own though, be sure to check out alternatives:

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