Looking for idea feedback website
November 12, 2010 11:55 AM   Subscribe

I have an idea. Is there a website that will let me get feedback on my idea, protect my idea and then help me start building my idea? I've Googled, but I'm looking for personal recommendations.
posted by joshuamcginnis to Technology (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
That's what friends are for! One you publicize your idea, there's little you can do to keep someone else from implementing it before you.
posted by halogen at 12:17 PM on November 12, 2010


Seriously, there's no single site that will do what you want, most of all "protect" your idea, which has no value without execution. The best feedback comes from making a prototype and putting it out there.

Are you the tech guy or the money guy in this scenario?
posted by mkultra at 12:25 PM on November 12, 2010

For idea feedback, there's halfbakery (you publicly post your idea, and people will criticize it, and you). Are you looking for a website that requires a nondisclosure agreement?

To protect an idea (IANAL, US-only) you have a 1-year grace period (link: wikipedia) from first public disclosure to file for a patent. Or, you can apply for a provisional patent application (link: wikipedia), which also gets you a 1-year grace period. But, the risk of failing due to not actually selling anything is much greater than the risk of someone stealing the idea, and if your idea isn't successful, no one will bother to sue you.

As far as help building an idea, it really depends what you're building. Are you looking for funding, or what?

If it's advice you want, I enjoyed The Pmarca Guide to Startups (link: part 1 of 6, google for the rest) by the guy who invented the web browser, and How to Make a Million Dollars by the guy who started HowStuffWorks.com. But YMMV, I haven't made it yet.
posted by sninctown at 12:32 PM on November 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

I know it feels like your idea is so great that if you tell someone they're going to steal it, but the harsh reality is that it's almost certainly not. One of the biggest mistakes first time entrepreneurs make is thinking that revealing their idea will kill it. This is precisely wrong. Your idea gets better every time to talk it through with someone new. You get better at describing it, you learn from their response what different people see in the idea, and this all feeds back into the idea itself for when you start building it and telling other people about it. At the stage you're at now, even if you walked up to your biggest competitor and told them exactly what you were going to do, they would probably shrug and say "good luck," because they've probably thought of it already and decided it's not going to work or their customers aren't asking for it yet, or some other reason that doesn't matter to you. Its your passion for the idea and your perspective on the problem that are going to make it work, and neither of those are instantly infectious.

Plus, the more people who know the kind of thing you're working on, the more likely you are to make the kinds of connections that make a business flourish. Your friends will be more likely to send people your way who are looking for a new project, or press people looking to interview someone working in this area, and so on.

So email people whose instincts you trust and buy them dinner. Tweet that you're thinking about something new and want to talk to people related to X. Post that shit to facebook. Go to events and tell strangers what you're doing. Everyone else has their own ideas and isn't going to just steal yours. Besides (cribbing from a story Paul Graham likes to tell), if you've made more progress than some imaginary competitor who's going to steal your idea and you're moving faster than they can (or are willing to), they're never going to catch you anyway. You'll have thought about this idea so much that you know it inside out, and no one could copy it from a 30 minute conversation with you anyway.

I'm also happy to chat about specifics if you want to memail me.

(There are a small number of ideas that need to be actually kept secret. These tend to be ideas that hinge on very delicate timing and where competitors are very well placed do your idea themselves. But most large companies are poor at changing direction quickly, and are unlikely to hear about your great new idea and just start doing it. They have roadmaps and development plans and are hostile to external ideas. You have much more to fear from your project failing than someone stealing it.)
posted by heresiarch at 1:33 PM on November 12, 2010 [8 favorites]

There's Quirky where users submit product ideas for evaluation and refinement by the user group. It's described in this NYT article but I believe the per-submission fee has been reduced to $10.
posted by carmicha at 1:42 PM on November 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Without knowing anything about you or your idea, I am very confident in saying that your idea is not that special. Plenty of people have already had that idea. You haven't heard of them because they all failed to execute with the idea, or never even tried. The secret to success is in the execution. Ideas are a dime a dozen.
posted by COD at 1:46 PM on November 12, 2010 [2 favorites]

MetaFilter Projects?
posted by Carol Anne at 2:17 PM on November 12, 2010

Damnit Carmicha, I read this post at work and was going to link exactly to that!

Def. read the NYT Article, it was very fascinating, and may be what you are looking for.

And as others stated, you need to communicate your idea. That is the best way to better execute it, and find people interested in aiding you on this endevour. You are only one person, and its going to need many different people with diverse backgrounds to help you get it off the ground.

Best of luck!
posted by handbanana at 3:14 PM on November 12, 2010

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