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How to prevent getting your idea stolen?

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Fersko

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Hi fastlaners

I might have a good idea for a fastlane project but will probably not be able to pull it off completely by myself. I'll need to hire a freelance developer, but how do I know he's not going to runaway with my idea. Especially if you don't have the financial capacities to take the project very seriously?

Any suggestions?

Fersko
 

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sparechange

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Anyone with big pockets can replicate your idea and execute it better, don't let it be a deterrent to taking action on it.
 

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Hi fastlaners

I might have a good idea for a fastlane project but will probably not be able to pull it off completely by myself. I'll need to hire a freelance developer, but how do I know he's not going to runaway with my idea. Especially if you don't have the financial capacities to take the project very seriously?

Any suggestions?

Fersko
That comes from a scarcity mindset. You need to understand most successful people don't steal ideas, especially developers. They don't have the same vision, marketing skills or desire to do what you want to do with it.

There's also the very real possibility your idea isn't as good as you think or someone else has already tried it and failed, so the attempt to make sure no one can know about it is fallacious.

Hope that helps.
 

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Lex DeVille

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Hi fastlaners

I might have a good idea for a fastlane project but will probably not be able to pull it off completely by myself. I'll need to hire a freelance developer, but how do I know he's not going to runaway with my idea. Especially if you don't have the financial capacities to take the project very seriously?

Any suggestions?

Fersko

If you never do the idea because you're worried it might get stolen...that's the fastest, easiest way to make sure nobody ever steals it.

But more seriously, my thoughts are, make the freelancer sign a contract that says he won't steal your idea. Target a specific audience and create a brand people fall in love with. Find ways to over-deliver with your service and be thinking about how you'll stay at the top if you get there.

If your idea is so great, someone will probably steal it at some point. What will you do then? Close your profitable business because someone's doing the same thing you are?
 

PizzaOnTheRoof

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You better hope that somebody wants to steal it because that means it's viable.
 

DVU

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That should be the last of your worries
 

George Appiah

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To everyone who has responded already... let's cool down a bit.

I clearly understand where you're all coming from: too many people believe they have unique, earth-shattering ideas and are incessantly worried about "their" ideas being stolen... and I get why you're responding as you have.

But let's dig a little deeper.

While the title of the thread started my heart boiling as well, I think there is a legitimate concern here.

I see a difference between worrying about a random person stealing your idea --- vs --- worrying about someone you've paid to write software for you turning around and either re-selling the code you paid for to a hundred other people (happened to me before) or setting up shop to compete directly with you (a friend is currently dealing with this).

Think Facebook (Winklevoss twins vs Mark Zuckerberg).

While your developer may not have your vision and what not, they wrote the code and understands the nuances of the software better than you. Heck, if they did a great job with the code, they probably understand the market and ecosystem better than you do.

And if they're going to play dirty, chances are they are not going to sit around fixing bugs for you.

Now you're left with a buggy app/software and no one to maintain it. You could start to build your own team, hire another developer to maintain the code, or start from scratch -- all of which will slow you down and win you angry users/customers and 1-star reviews.

Now, how do you prevent this?

Well, as long as you work with these creatures called human beings, you can't completely eliminate the risk. Heck, your own staff can turn around and compete with you if you let them.

But you can try to minimize the risk with legalese. Put non-disclosure and non-compete clauses in your contract, and make sure the contract explicitly says you exclusively own the code.

But note that a good developer who knows what they're about is likely to charge you a heck lot more once they see such language in a contract. Some developers may even quote a separate fee for the source code (separate from what they charged for the binary or packaged app).

And the law may be on their side. I'm NOT a lawyer, but my limited understanding is that, at least in US copyright law, the developer you paid to build the app may actually own the source code, unless the contract explicitly says otherwise. Follow the links below if you're interested in this topic.

Also, if you're low on a budget as you say, chances are you're going to hire an el cheapo developer living in a country where they don't give a crap about your legalese.

Which brings us full circle to what everyone has already said above: even with the best of caution, you can't completely eliminate the risk of your developer, let alone a random someone, launching a clone app or site.

And to conclude with what @Lex DeVille said:

If you never do the idea because you're worried it might get stolen...that's the fastest, easiest way to make sure nobody ever steals it.

Links worth looking at:
  1. CoFoundersLab.com: Contract Developer Charging for Source Code?
  2. ASP-Software.org: Who Owns The Code? | Association of Software Professionals
  3. StackExchange.com: Client wants source code, but it contains a lot of shared code I reuse with other projects
  4. Quora.com: How can I avoid that my developers (freelancers) steal the code of my Apps?
  5. TheTrademarkHub.com: 7 ways to legally protect your mobile app - TrademarkHub Blog
 
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Fersko

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Nov 3, 2018
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Was curious about the answers I would receive for this question... I can say I'm very happy with them and see a valuable forum to invest time into. So thanks everyone for taking your time answering this question!

What I'm going to do is make the UI myself, maybe the very basics of the source and then making a plan for my developer. As said in this thread I'm going to take the advice of putting up a contract, just in case. Lastly I want to thank everyone for pulling me through this barrier ;)
 

GoGetter24

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Get a freelancer within your jurisdiction and get them to sign an NDA.
 

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Jeff Noel

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Another thing to keep in mind is that even if somebody already does the thing you want to do, you can still be successful. How many gas station and grocery store is there in a single city ?
 
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Fersko

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Hmm, I think that's just because they sell life essential products... People can always use them, that probably will not be the case with my idea haha
 

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