Wednesday, November 26, 2008

On Being Public

Nathan Kaiser's nPost blog had a few interesting posts recently. Rather than posting his opinions, Nathan asked a few questions which are important to the community -- on what defines a startup, what a startup should have on its to do list, and whether you should sign an NDA. I won't repeat my comments here, but I encourage you to check it out.

In the last case, Nathan didn't ask if you should ask for an NDA, which I think is another important question. In case it's not obvious, my answer is No. If I wanted NDAs from everybody, I wouldn't be blogging about what I'm doing. Clearly, there are pros and cons of being public and I haen't been public about every single detail, both because it would be overwhelming to everybody else and because I want to keep some things to myself. When I do share more details, I just tell the recipient that it's confidential and I trust them. And, if I didn't trust them, would an NDA make a difference?

Overall, I'm happy with my decision. I just look at all the advice I wouldn't have gotten if I'd been secretive. And I also look at my attempt to start a company around some search technology that I built after I left Microsoft. I was very secretive, insisted on NDAs from everyone, and basically isolated myself from the world for a year and a half. I had some great ideas and technology, but I didn't succeed in actually getting a company started, and my secrecy had a lot to do with it.

I had a reasonably productive day today. Completed a bunch of tasks and made some progress on others. I refactored my model definitions after my schema change and made the code 20% smaller, simpler, and easier to read. I feel like I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I still have a few boulders in the way.

Update: Somebody pointed out to me that the x-axis was labeled incorrectly on my graphs -- the graph is only showing days I'm working, but the labels showed consecutive days. Fixed here and on the last two days.


Mark said...

I thought you were working on Sampa, not on a private project?

Roy Leban said...

@Mark: I left Sampa at the end of September and started Groupthink a few days later. And, right before I left Sampa, I launched Puzzazz.

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