Since I wrote How To Protect Your Ideas From Yourself, I’ve received a lot of requests asking for a follow-up. Specifically, How to stop yourselves from sharing ideas prematurely or with the wrong people.
In his book Business Stripped Bare – Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur, Richard Branson made a joke about inventing a device that will store all your music, making, what is now old school media redundant. It was only a joke… 15 years after the joke Apple came out with the first iPod!
Some things we will share unaware of the potential that exists. We do not completely have control over the sharing of those kind of ideas. However, for the ideas that we feel there might be a slight chance of opportunity, you have to be intentional and careful to guard them.
Ideas are a currency on their own. Protecting them is like protecting any other investment
There has never been a time in history that people have fought over ideas like now. The patent wars are about money, but if you stop to properly consider, you will realize the subtle war besides money is people wanting compensation for use of their ideas. So, how do you protect yourself from sharing ideas prematurely?
The first front to protecting yourself from sharing ideas prematurely is deciding what you’re going to share and what you’re not. This goes beyond just making a decision. It is carefully considering the ramifications of what you share and the extent to which you can share something about your idea(s). Categorize the possible audiences that will ask.
Being sold out to your idea than people’s opinions of you is the essence of protecting your ideas
For example, those that don’t really need to know much, perhaps that you are working on something that will contribute toward……… Other categories to include would be trusted enablers of your idea. That is, people you trust and can help empower your idea.
Then there are people who might be able to enable your ideas to fruition but are not sure of the extent of their contribution. And there are some you know will definitely not give your ideas breathing space. Whatever you do, you get to decide what to share, to what extent and with whom.
You’re not obligated to share your ideas with everyone. I hope that liberates some people. You don’t have to justify pursuit of every idea you have with everybody every time.
Your ideas, your prerogative to share
Whatever idea(s) you have the freedom to simply say something like, “I can’t share anything yet, but I will when I’m / we’re ready…” You do not have to say anything… Your ideas, your prerogative to share….
What’s the password? Put a password on your files. A good one, rather a very strong one. You’d be surprised how many people overlook a simple thing like this. If they haven’t put a password (even on your own computer) it makes it easier for anyone to see. If you are writing anything down, make backups that are also protected.
Double check and triple check anything that you post on social media. Once it is on the Internet you cannot take it back. You may delete your tweet or blog post but you don’t know if it has been copied. Social media is great for promoting ideas that are ready to be promoted and rallying support when needed, but can be devastating if you share too soon.
Don’t take ideas with you when you’re going to be involved in something that has the potential to impair your judgment. Think about how many iPhones were left or lost at bars before they were ready for release. (It could’ve been marketing gimmicks, but don’t take chances…)
Stay away from places and situations that can impair your judgment and cause you to blurt your ideas.
Get a someone close, you trust to be your filter. Give them permission to knock you out if they have to, in order to stop you from over-sharing or sharing something you shouldn’t.
Have a platform where you share your ideas. Create a space where ideas are shared and refined. This will curb the frustration of having ideas burning. When you talk about your ideas in a safe and private environment it you are less likely to go about blurting them out in places you shouldn’t be.
Some people share ideas prematurely in places and to people they should not because there is no where they share them as a means of venting and release for excitement for the ideas they carry.
What would you recommend to me (and others like me) that have ideas they do not want to share prematurely?
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