Why I Don't Sign NDAs

No Offense, But It's Probably Not

No Offense, But It's Probably Not

Every now and then, when someone wants to ask me for some help with their start up or get my thoughts on it, they'll ask me to sign an NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement.) The motivation for this ask I am sure is to make sure that I, a person they don't know, don't steal their idea and claim it was my own and make all the money that they dreamed of making instead. 

I don't sign NDAs for one very specific reason: I don't have enough time to work on the ideas I currently am in love with and obsessed with so there is no way in hell I have time to care about yours enough to make it my own. I promise. 

The second reason is this: there is a very real and very strong possibility that you aren't the only person that has this idea. And, if there isn't an immediate way that we might engage and work together, I don't want to have to keep track of the 100-200 ideas that come through my inbox each year and be precluded from talking to someone next year with a some-what similar idea that I actually can help.

The long and short of it is this: ideas are a dime a dozen and yours likely isn't that special. 

The magic is what happens when you take that idea out from behind the NDA and put it out into the world. That is actually the only time your idea matters, when it becomes a reality and you execute better than anyone else possibly could because that is what sets a wantrepreneur apart from someone creating a meaningful solution to a real world problem. 

So if you are cool with me not signing your NDA, feel free to send me your idea and let me know why you're going to beat all the odds and actually see your idea become something that changes the world. Maybe I can help.

Or as my friend Matt Wallaert from Microsoft Ventures says, "The likelihood that I can help you outweighs the likelihood I am going to steal your idea."