I occasionally write iOS apps for myself and for work. I’ve been somewhat inactive in iOS app development business for the last several months, mostly because I was busy writing an Android app as a part of my graduate research assistant job. Most of time people contact me about their app business saying they have this billion-dollor idea that would change the world. Well, I generally don’t believe in this billion-dollor idea bullshit. Frankly, I think ideas are almost useless unless someone actually brings that idea to the reality.

I come up with so many ideas when I’m rolling around on my bed, walking around the campus, or reading a book. Most of them are stupid or highly impractical, but a few are very sophisticated, reasonably realistic, and have potential economic value. But those are not helping anyone because they only exist in my brain and/or sitting in my archive, and thus pretty much useless.

For this reason, I argue your idea doesn’t have much value. What is worth the most is your experties and devotion to bring your idea to the reality. It takes tears and blood.

Most of my clients in the past asked me to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) just to hear out their mind-blowing ideas. Sure, I understand you worry that someone might start a business based on the stolen idea of yours. I consider that as a legitimate reason to concern.

However, you might not the only one who ever thought of the idea you are asking me to sign an NDA for. I have my own list - a very long list - of ideas that I have no time or no ability to implement on my own. What if there is an overlap?

Let’s write a hypothetical scenario. One day you came to me to talk about an app you want to develop. You thought you had a great idea that every single human being on this plenet would appreciate. So you kindly asked me to sign an NDA so that I don’t talk about your idea with 3rd parties. I was too busy with other tasks so I decided not to go further with your business opportunity. Today, I finally tackled down some of my projects and had some spare time. I was reading some documents in my archive and decided to implement one of the ideas I wrote down in the past. Oh, shit. This is the idea that is very similar to your idea that you have discussed with me a few months ago. I’ve had this idea many years ago, but I already signed an NDA. If I still want to start a business with this idea, am I stealing your idea simply because I signed an NDA?