Somebody Stole My Idea

How do you feel when somebody steals your idea? It’s a frequently asked question. Here’s my answer.

idea man bragging

That happened to me once. A business associate listened to my idea that I shouldn’t have shared in a cocktail party setting, and he went quietly off and executed. I was annoyed because he didn’t invite me to be part of it. That wasn’t flattering. But I got over it.

By the way, that’s not stealing. We don’t own those ideas. Good ideas are like warm summer days. They belong to whoever uses them.

And if I let it go to make myself feel smart during a conversation, that’s my tough luck. As it turned out, the guy who moved on my idea ended up with a business that never took off and always struggled; and I ended up realizing, without the pain and suffering, that my supposed great idea wasn’t so great after all.

That’s another thing about great ideas. Most of them crumble back into reality upon execution.

And beyond that, to go more directly to the real issue: I repeat for emphasis: that’s not stealing. Ideas aren’t owned so they can’t be stolen. All the emotion over this is wasted. It’s just not a thing. Ideas don’t get stolen.

I was annoyed with myself for talking too much. What did I gain by sharing too early? Nothing. It was just making me feel good for how smart I supposedly was. I learned. If you want to execute an idea, shut up.

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