Sometimes there’s a fork in the road that you didn’t see until you’ve gone so far in the wrong direction it’s easier to cut across the unknown and risk getting lost than it is to carry on. Many a self-help book has probably spawned from that sentiment, but what I am about to share had its genesis in our latest project, Flinders.
When you’re onto something and you need to move fast, build and get to market with your product there is an overwhelming urge to protect your idea at all costs. This might lead you to start thinking crazy thoughts: “I can’t talk about it in case someone steals my idea!”… “What if someone takes it and goes on to become Mark Zuckerberg’s new neighbour in their own Palo Alto corporate compound?!?!” The reality is probably more like: You can see value in something that nobody else can and the path to success lays more in execution than that idea you’ve attached so much predetermined value to.
Frank and I had a rather serendipitous experience lately that really forced me to think about where that line in the sand exists between disclosure and obfuscation when trying to find the resources you need to develop at speed.
Recently I did something that I rarely do anymore: I took a call from a recruiter. She was looking for an iOS developer for a project she was resourcing and ended up setting up a meeting to discuss the requirements we currently have for building Flinders. Without disclosing what we were up to specifically, we outlined the needs we had and set her to task to find us the right person. Someone to train us up on a set of technologies we felt we needed to utilise to underpin the product.
Being tight-lipped about the idea meant asserting which technologies we were looking for without explaining what the product was, except to say that “we have set it up as a separately incorporated entity and it is going to disrupt one of the biggest industries in the country and provide a significant explosion in value in the process”.
Intrigued? She certainly was and evidently so was someone else, because what happened next was completely unexpected.
We got a call the next day from said recruiter and an hour later had sitting in front of us probably the brightest consultant I’ve met yet. This guy, lets call him CTO, assessed our technical assertions and pointed directly at the fulcrum and made us see that we were just about to walk down the path to problems. The interesting thing is that he didn’t even know, ask or care what the product that we were building was. He didn’t want any work from us – he was curious. He came to find out why two highly experienced developers were looking to invest in an entirely different technical stack to that which they had experience with. He was asking a very poignant question.
In the end we didn’t talk about our idea. We didn’t need to. The point is that we talked and we will continue to need to talk more and more to lots of different people who incidentally, aren’t; interested in our vision or a threat to our success. To the contrary, we have found that whenever we talk about what we are doing, the people we are talking to genuinely have something valuable to contribute to our mental picture of how we are going to execute.
It seems that as long as you aren’t kidding yourself or anyone else, the universe is out to help you. Just make sure you are executing on a path you know how to walk!
~ Hamish Crittenden // Melbourne Made