Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Startup secrecy

SHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Please NO talking about the company to anyone. No blogging, talking, posting, emailing about the company’s particulars, etc…

A note I got today warning us of the terrific need for secrecy around the company that was created at the Bloomington Startup Weekend this past weekend. I ended up not being able to participate in any meaningful sense, except maybe for a few hours on Friday night, so I don't know what any of the big secrets are that they need to keep, but one thing I do know is that

there is no business model that is so unique and different that no one has ever thought about it before.

Creating a successful business is about execution, and sweat equity, not about the new and exciting business model. All this sort of insistence on secrecy does is shut down any potential buzz that would be created. I mean, you've got 75 or so people who are probably, or hopefully, really excited about the application they've put together. They should be blogging, twittering, discussing how excited they are about the company. That is a lot of people for a small town like Bloomington - the buzz would probably have a multiplicative effect and people might even start up a buzz about a buzz, so to speak. But they're blowing it by telling everyone that they can't post, can't talk, can't even email.

The PR people and/or the lawyers are probably telling them that they need to present a consistent message, need to prevent any chance of being sued for patent infringement, need to be safe, need to be careful. Sorry, folks, being careful isn't how you create a successful startup. That comes from being bold and taking chances.

I got a separate note telling me I needed to fill out more forms in order to claim the share of the company that I qualified for on Friday night. Meh. I don't think I'll bother.

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