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Keeping your new startup a secret is stupid

Advertising & Marketing

Joshua Davidson wrote this article


One of our most frequently asked questions here at Chop Dawg is, “Should I keep my new company a secret?

I’m not going to write a long blog post just to give you the answer at the end. Instead, let’s start with it.


Keeping your new company, your new product, your new startup a secret, is pointless, stupid, absurd and counter-intuitive to your goals.

Now that we have the harsh truth out of the way, let’s dive into the why.

Why is it stupid to keep your new startup a secret?

Well, for most of the people who ask this question, they immediately counter with that their idea is going to be stolen.

Here is the unfortunate truth, no, your idea will not be stolen.


Let’s start off with the fact that this is actual theft that you could sue for, and guess what, you would win.


Because this is theft.

Perhaps the true and most honest reason of all, though, is because no one is going to steal your idea. Mark Zuckerberg’s tales with the Winklevoss twins is the exception to the rule, the story that makes for a great Hollywood story… which coincidentally, it became.

The reality is for those talented enough to build your idea, they are busy enough focusing on things they already care about and want to work on.

Do they truly want to drop everything, that is odds are, making them a livelihood, just for a brand new industry, a brand new starting from ground zero startup, which, oh yeah, you’ll have a personal (and legal) vendetta against them?

Yeah, probably not.

The biggest thing behind the stupidity with keeping your idea a secret, is the fact of how many opportunities you are going to miss out on.

You should be telling everyone who is willing to listen to you about your new startup.

Potential users.

Potential customers.

Potential VCs.

Potential media personalities.

Yes, even potential designers and developers.


I’ll tell you why.

Because not only is this called marketing, which is something you are going to need to get people working, hiring and using your new startup right at the get-go but most importantly of all, you are going to receive real feedback.

The feedback that could be the difference between your company succeeding, failing, earning an additional million in revenue next year, or telling you not to waste your time and energy.

The real reason most people keep their startup a secret, in my perspective, isn’t because they are afraid of building hype too early or having their idea stolen.

No, the true, honest, real reason why most people keep their idea a secret is because they’re afraid of rejection and failure.

By putting yourself out there and in the open, you’re in your most vulnerable state.

The fact you want to be an entrepreneur means you have an ego, which is perfectly okay, but that does mean, odds are, your ego can be hurt, which no one wants.

You need to learn to let that go, and the quicker you do as an entrepreneur, the more success that you will have. No doubt about that.

Now let’s be real here for a minute.

It is okay to hold off telling the world about your new startup early in order to time hype and traction.

If you’re in the middle of a one-year development project to launch, and have ten months still to go, then yes, telling the world may be foolish. However, don’t interpret timing to being a secret, to not telling a soul.

You should embrace real feedback, embrace learning early, embrace building a list of real users and customers for day one. When you do, you’re going to be much more successful, you’re going to hit the ground running that much faster, and funny enough, you probably won’t be contacting a lawyer about someone stealing your idea (and in fact, ask yourself, outside of the movie the Social Network movie, can you provide me with one real lawsuit that you have heard about an idea being stolen and launched… again, probably not).

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There are over 2 comments. on this article. Join in on the discussion!
  • peter said:

    Nice post. What if the startup is not registered legally yet?

    • Joshua Davidson said:

      My opinion (and please consult with a legal expert, I am not one) — I’d say go for it AS LONG AS you successfully register your business, legally, by the time you launch. Don’t make a dollar without knowing you’re setup 100% legal.

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