I have a buddy who’s been thinking about a startup for a few months. He just got started working on it. Domain name secured, potential investors wooed, website prototype built, application specified. He woke up this morning to an email from me that read something like this:
Subject: Hope You Don’t Mind Some Friendly Competition
<Link to TechCrunch article about a piece of technology that Microsoft is planning which will compete directly with his brain child.>
I should note at this point in the story that this friend’s idea was in no way an obvious play for Microsoft. It’s not like he was planning on building a font for Word here. I got this back from him a few hours later:
Subject: Re: Hope You Don’t Mind Some Friendly Competition
Dear God! I think this proves Microsoft is listening into my inner thoughts.
Thanks for sharing!!! You most likely just saved me oodles of more money, time, effort, and (ultimately) disappointment.
We should catch-up (like, by phone – remember those things?!) sometime soon.
I hope all is well!
I love this type of work, but it does have this danger. Hey, the reason I love it is because it requires you to be quick on your feat and ready to out think the other guy. You can’t eliminate the risk. If you have a great idea it’s not unlikely that someone else is capable of coming up with it too. Here’s what you can do to mitigate the risk: