Jacob Baytelman

Building software since 1998

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Why I do not sign NDAs

Periodically I discuss different projects with potential customers. Sometimes they ask me to sign their NDA. I do not like to do it. And for sure I will never sign a document if it stipulates something like "... Developer acknowledges that monetary damages may not be a sufficient remedy..." and "... Inventor shall be entitled to seek such injunctive or equitable relief as..."

Here is my position: nowadays ideas cost nothing and cannot be stolen, because you have to be the inventor of the idea if you wish implement it properly.

Source codes cost almost nothing and cannot be stolen. You need to be the developer of these source codes in order to deploy them properly or continue development. Coding "from scratch" is often a better option than digging in a somebody else's code and fixing somebody else's bugs.

To stay in line with modern tendencies in web and app development, you should seriously revamp your mobile app or website approximately each 2 years, which makes it even harder to steal source codes.

Ready products cost a bit more than nothing and cannot be stolen either, because you need to have a route to market in order to sell the product and the source codes to support it.

And if you are clever enough to steal the idea, the sources, the product and the route to market, you must have already been running your own startup.

Last but never least, do not forget about the team. You also need someone to work on the idea, sources, marketing, etc. Will you be able to steal them too?

I work with different companies and we sign contracts to protect both their and my interests. I do take obligations to keep secretly all the confidential information but never agree to any financial responsibility in any case. If I am neither a co-founder nor a partner, then I have to get paid, not pay them :)

I believe it is a matter of trust. I trust my customers and I expect them to pay me and to take the business to next stages, so all of us win. The customers trust me and expect me to carry on the development process to the best of my knowledge and vision which lets them take the business to the next level so all of us win.

If expectations are not met, we cannot continue.