One of the things that surprises me most in the entrepreneurial environment is the reluctance on the part of certain investors to sign a commitment to confidentiality or NDA (aka non-disclosure agreement). and the first question is why? What scares them for not doing it? What do you fear for not showing some confidence to an entrepreneur, especially novelty, when sharing a concern, an idea with them?
The fact is that in an initiative with young entrepreneurs, very novice in the entrepreneurial environment but with a passion overwhelmed by their project, I invited a group of investors I knew not so much so that they had the interest to invest in something, still in stages too early, but to explore possible opportunities. At the time of allowing them access to project information, I asked them to sign a NDA (it is not a confidentiality agreement with all the penal clauses in case of non-compliance but rather a declaration of intentions to listen but demonstrate a certain confidence not to spread or use what they hear) and what was my surprise when several of them (not all, at least) refused to do so for the most peregrine excuses or without them. It seemed to me that ethically we should all give the entrepreneur the confidence that we take his project seriously …
That made me think and I started looking for arguments for and against (obviously by investors) to understand the problem and curiously I found several articles on that topic, that is to say that it was a situation that more than one has been questioned.
What some people usually argue is the “easy” message of: “Ideas are worthless, the important thing is the team, the resources and how you implement them” (sometimes I think that who says it is one who is frustrated because he never has a good idea). I disagree partially: it is obvious that an idea without equipment, resources … and a good implementation does not go very far but it is also true that a good team with many resources do not go anywhere without ideas. I firmly believe that good ideas exist, but you have to work on them so that they can be implemented in the best way possible and you can take advantage of them, and for that reason, respect for those who have the ability to have good ideas and that respect translates into a commitment that I will take your explanations seriously.
I understand that an investor who receives innumerable proposals can find it tedious to sign such commitments and, of course, to remember all those who sign, especially when many of them can be similar. It is a slow process and subject to many errors, and the thing is complicated if in the signing of this commitment more than one person participate in addition to having to maintain its validity.
Some statements I have found affect the lack of confidence of the entrepreneur sharing his project (which may not be just an idea but even a prototype) and these investors suggest that it may give a bad image or that it may indicate that something is hidden, without However, the same could be said in the inverse case.
Of course, it is necessary to contemplate different levels of NDA depending on the degree of maturity of the project.
That reminds me of the “butterfly effect
” linked to an old Chinese proverb that says: “The slight flutter of the wings of a butterfly can be felt on the other side of the world.
” Without exaggerating, it is true that every element has an important impact on the elements that surround it, as the American mathematician and meteorologist Edward Norton Lorenz
has explained to explain the behavior chaotic unstable systems, such as weather, exposed in his 1963 article: “Non-periodic deterministic flow
” and then linked to the formulation of such a butterfly effect that made him famous.
Why do I mention “the butterfly effect“? Simply because an attitude like the one I have mentioned will be determinant in the chain of events in the space-time of a process of entrepreneurship much more than we can imagine.
However, there are technological mechanisms to facilitate the process that are totally feasible and reliable.
One very interesting, and that is taking more and more strength, is Blockchain.
The blockchain technology allows to solve the inconveniences that I mentioned and to create a NDA of better quality, in a dynamic way, eliminating the paper as a means of sending, reducing the cost and the time of implementation especially when more than one person participates.
In short, I think it is “healthy” to give confidence in the process of sharing concerns that greatly enriches any idea that may arise. Opinions?