On 10/3/07, mojo.talantikite [email protected] wrote:
comfortable sharing the idea with, never mind someone that would be
Here’s some perspective from someone who works for a startup. I can’t
promise you I have any talent, but I do have some perspective.
First of all, what the hell is with the “tricking talent” attitude?
If we make the reasonable assumption that talented programmers are
also intelligent, then (a) you probably won’t be able to trick them
and (b) they sure as hell won’t like to feel or be tricked.
So, that’s your first major problem. The second one is in finding
someone who you feel “comfortable sharing the idea with.” I’ve talked
to a bunch of people over the past few years who have a cool idea, and
want me to work on it with them, but won’t give me any details. A few
have even asked me to sign an NDA before they shared anything! (to
give you a hint, the proper response to that sort of an NDA is the
middle finger). I know you think you have a cool idea, and it
probably is. The thing is, ideas really aren’t worth anything. It’s
only the implementation and execution that has any real value. I
think Paul Graham wrote an article about this. It’s good, google it.
Hopefully this will put things in perspective for you… you’ve got
this great idea, and are spending all this time and energy trying to
get it started. You really believe in it and love it. Yet it’s all
this work and you still haven’t gotten it going. So do you really
think some random ass dude is going to be like, “omg what a fantastic
idea I’m totally going to steal this” and 5 years from now you’re
thinking, “fuck I could have gotten rich but he stole my idea.” No,
it won’t happen. If you, the main supporter of this idea, hasn’t been
able to work up the motivation to really get it going then it’s
absurdly unlikely that someone else will after having an hour chat
with you. Bottom line is it’s a tooooon of work, and the initial idea
represents such a tiny part so as to be almost inconsequential to the
So, with that said, here’s how you get people on board. You have to
be really really really excited about what you’re doing and convince
people it WILL be successful. The catch is that we all know
statistically that 99% of businesses fail (9 out of 10 in the first
year, and then 9 out of 10 in the first 5 years). So, yeah, it’s
hard. Get over it.
When I was talking with my current employer (before I got hired), I
asked them how long they had been doing this. Three guys had quit
their jobs out of the blue and had been doing this WITHOUT PAY FOR TWO
YEARS. I can’t tell you how attractive that was to me. It’s one
thing to say “hey I should start a company” and quite another to say,
“fuck it, I’m starting a company and that’s how I’m going to eat.”
These are guys that believe in what they’re doing, know what they
want, and are going to do whatever it takes to get it. That’s how you
avoid the 9/10 that fail in the first year (but doesn’t say anything
about the first 5 years :P)
What’s interesting, to me, is that this is really still just an
employee’s perspective (#2). I don’t have huge stock options, I’ve
gotten a paycheck from day 1, etc. But I was still wary of working
for a company that might go belly up in a few months. I can’t even
imagine what it must be like to attract a founder.
It’s going to take a ton of work. The main point of all this is that
you have to get behind your idea 100%. If you don’t, then it’ll be
impossible to get anyone else behind it even 1%.