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Pitching To You


How would someone would go about pitching you a software idea? Do you accept pitches? What would you do with a person who had an idea you wanted to implement?

(not that i ever have ideas ... :) )

michael sica (
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

As the CEO of a software company I try not to listen to pitches and NEVER sign non-disclosure agreements under any circumstances.

Briefly ... there is a risk that the idea you are pitching might happen to correspond to something I was going to do anyway, and then you would sue me for stealing your idea.

If somebody convinced me that they were an incredibly serious person with a really good proposition, I would ask somebody I trusted who is not a Fog Creek employee to hear the pitch and vet the idea first, and if that person thought I should hear the idea I would consider it.

All that said we already have our hands full with FogBUGZ and CityDesk and we're not exactly looking for new software markets to enter!

Joel Spolsky
Fog Creek Software
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

I know you can sue for stealing an idea, but would such a suit be successful? I hear this reasoning a lot but I assume people just don't want ot be bothered.

You can't copyright an idea, only the expression/implementation of the idea.  To protect an idea per say I think you would need a patent.  Sure the non-disclosure agreement seems to offer protection which would be a good reason not to sign, but if the idea is really specific and it turns out you were already considering something similar and could document it, you would be fine.

What I don't see is why someone would want to pitch an idea to Joel in the first place.  He isn't an Angel after all.  If you want to start a business there are other ways to go about it.

name withheld out of cowardice
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Suits don't have to be successful to ruin your day. 

Software Is Fun
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

By that reasoning it would suck if someone sued you for refusing to hear their pitches.

name withheld out of cowardice
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

That's true, "Software is Fun". Every time I see someone in a suit it ruins my day.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

People who have only ideas, but haven't brought them to fruition suffer under the delusion that the idea itself has value.  Then then run around clutching THE IDEA closely mumbling  "precious.... gollum ... golllum"

There are very few novel, good ideas.  If it's a good idea, it's been tried before and failed at.

If no one has had the idea yet, it's probably not a good one. It takes several iterations an Idea to be instantiated into a useable product.

Look at the examples:
manned, powered aircraft, the palm computer, etc. etc.

My appologized to the original poster if s/he, does not, indeed, feel that the idea itself has value.

The real Entrepreneur
Friday, February 27, 2004

I wish I could remember where I read this, but someone once said that value comes from the risk of failure.  An idea is, in and of itself, worth nothing.  The value comes from implementing it, because there is a chance of failure.

Aaron F Stanton
Sunday, February 29, 2004

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