There are two people in a room.
One of them has a good idea and tells the other one about it.
A conversation starts.
The idea changes and develops into something new.
It grows and expands.
The process excites both of them.
✨ This is how ideas come to life. ✨
The modern way to build a business is to bring the public into this process of building it.
Why? Because doing business is the act of exchanging value. By doing this exchange in public, you provide the opportunity for everyone to get excited by its development, support it, and benefit from it.
How? Tell people about your idea early and let them help you develop it, so everyone can learn and help each other along the way. Ask for feedback at every step and let this feedback guide you. Before long, a small community will form.
Get started → The the quickest way to get something you love out into the world is a minimum viable launch. It can be a tweet, a video, a demo — anything that captures what makes the idea exciting and lets other people share in it.
Why is the way businesses are being built changing from being behind closed doors to being in public?
Would you rather use a blog post headline that was voted as the best headline by 100 people or take a shot in the dark and guess? The internet can give you a firm and reliable foundation on which to build a business, one step at a time, if you're willing to open yourself up to feedback.
On the internet, we have the benefit of getting instant feedback on our work from every corner of the globe at any moment of the day. So it makes sense to take advantage of this new reality and use this feedback to develop our ideas and inform our business decisions.
- Cars + the internet = Uber
- Houses + the internet = AirBnB
- Startups + the internet = building in public
It’s a natural evolution of business that happens when we decide to start letting people into a corner of our lives that we considered private before.
The alternative is simply worse:
- Working with less excitement
- Less community involvement
- Fewer collaborators
- Fewer perspectives
- Fewer ideas in the mix
By pursuing an idea in private, you’re bound to work on problems that other people have solved already or ones they have simple workarounds for.
"If I launch too early, competitors will steal my idea (if it's good) or it will make me look bad (if it's bad)."
When you share what you're excited about, you have a chance to inspire the same excitement in others, which can help you build a community.
Get used to looking bad temporarily. It's a good thing. As long as you improve, people will cheer you on and help you out.
Once you have a community — or even a small group of online friends:
- You can run ideas by them: drafts of blog posts, headlines, landing pages, prototypes. You'll get feedback early, allowing you to improve your idea in key ways before sharing it with a wider audience. This will make it much more likely to succeed.
- When you do a minimum viable launch (e.g. a blog post, a PDF guide, a prototype), your community will stand behind you, excited by the fact that they helped you create it. They’ll comment and vote on the launch and be supportive of your successes.
- When there’s a problem with something you publish, strangers rarely tell you about it. But, if you have some kind a community, they’ll be the first ones to tell you about a spelling mistake or your payment form being broken.
People who publish early will consistently outperform and out-scale the ones who don’t. They’ll be able to reach further into global networks, learn faster from these networks, have access to better tools crowdsourced by these networks.
They'll use all this to improve their ideas faster and get to product-market fit before anyone else has a chance to keep up.
Some people will steal your idea
Some people will see the excitement your idea generates and want some of that excitement for themselves. They might even think they can execute on the idea better than you can.
Not only will you have the early advantage by launching your idea early, but you actually don't need a huge community to build something valuable. As long as your use that head start to form a tight-knit community around your idea, you’ll be able to weather almost any storm and slowly build something of value.
The copycats might burn out from lack of feedback or lack of money (building a business is hard, after all). Or they might get shamed by the market for copying your idea.
Or, the best case in my opinion, they might end up helping you by expanding the market's awareness of your general use-case and developing ideas you never would have thought of that you can now learn from and implement better than them.
In the end, all businesses need community to survive. So putting the idea out there early is never a bad idea. The sooner you start gathering interest and inspiring other people, the faster you can make something good.
An idea kept secret will die a slow death
An idea kept secret:
- Will be developed without sharing its ups and downs, the problems it’s faced and the solutions that helped it overcome them. These key learnings and moments of excitement will help your idea alone, when they could be helping and nurturing a wider ecosystem.
- Will only be “good” in your own head. There’s no way of telling if it’s actually a good idea before showing it to people.
- Will gain no following and create no excitement in the market before you start publishing your thoughts about it. You’ll be risking everything on a single launch.
- Will have no one but you and your small team to solve problems for it and help it survive in the wider marketplace.
You need to share your idea today — while you still feel that initial, bubbling excitement around it!
Early on, you have a boundless, bubbling energy around your idea when you think about how much it could change the world.
Why keep that bubbling energy private, when by sharing it you have the chance to ignite the same energy in others and multiply its effects thousandfold.
The longer you keep your idea secret, the further away you’ll get from the bubbling excitement of the initial idea. Before long, you’ll get caught up in business documents and solving day-to-day issues. You’ll start to get tired and stressed out, and find it harder to remember why you started working on the idea in the first place.
Don’t miss the opportunity to share your idea while it still inspires boundless excitement in you!
It’s this emotional charge, endless optimism, and the feeling of untapped potential that fuels the development of every business and inspires every community. It’s your most valuable asset in the early days and you don't want it to go to waste!
You need to share it.