I had a very interesting debate a few days ago with some friends and a very drunk guy. Unfortunately I can’t remember the very drunk guy’s name, so from here on he will be refered to as TVDG (The very drunk guy). Can you steal an idea from someone? To make it simple, lets say TVDG designed the very first glass drinking container. That was his idea. He decided that he needed a container from which to drink liquid from, and he shaped it as seen below:
If I, upon seeing this design for a drinking container, decided that it didn’t have enough excitement, and decided to design a container like the one below, would I have stolen someones idea?
I don’t think that would be entirely idea theft. The fact is, the moment you tell someone about one of your idea and then they execute it down to the last letter as you have said you want to do it, then your idea has been stolen. I think that if you express an idea, and it gets worked on and made better or different, it isn’t idea theft necessarily.
The reason I don’t think that you can steal an idea, is that it is pretty much the opposite of inception. It’s not someone else putting an idea in your head. It’s you forming an idea in your head. It will never be as original when someone else does it (unless they have unwarranted access to all your working drawings, meeting notes, contact details, schematics, and video presentations) because we are not clones (at least I hope we are not clones…).
The reason it is hard to steal an idea I think, is also because people have their own visions of that idea. Hence the difference between TVDG’s drinking container and mine. The tricky part is that some ideas are formed by speaking to friends and “friends” about the idea, with the intention of trying to further form it. Sometimes your idea is nothing more that the baby steps, and you need to talk to someone who can help to turn the baby steps into a full on sprint by making you think outside the box.
For those of you afraid of having an idea pinched from you here are a few things you can do to avoid that terribly situation from happening
- Don’t have ideas
- Getting that intellectual property protection thing is complicated and expensive. Refer to point number 1
- Only share your idea with your friends when they are drunk. They are less likely to remember
- The best additions to your idea come after friends have been engaging in mind altering drugs. They are also less likely to remember.
- If you do write or type an idea down, keep it in a safe, or get some encryption software, put a password on the file and then (like I did) eventually forget what the password is.
Remember, ideas are dangerous! Have a fantastic weekend