March 31, 2022 by Clawdia

Someone Stole my Business Idea!

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Ever heard of Tyler and Cameron, the Winklevoss twins?
Well, if you haven’t, you should, as there’s a pretty big chance they’re responsible for us spending quite a few hours on our phones every day.

In case you’re wondering what I’m talking about:
During their time at Harvard University, the Winklevoss twins came up with the idea of developing a social network called ConnectU.

The twins hired a timid student named Mark, and had him code and develop the network for them.
What these accomplished twins hadn’t realized, though, was that the same wide-eyed mega-geek student they hired would soon turn on them and copy their idea!

By the time the twins figured out that their developer had walked out on them with their very own idea, the entire Harvard campus was already connected to his new social network…

Facebook!

Facebook of course then quickly went to become a multi-billion dollar company.

When later accusing Mark of theft, the twins claimed that they had an understanding with him, and they shook hands on it. This was a beginner’s mistake: A business handshake is not always a legally binding agreement, and they shouldn’t have trusted this stranger’s goodwill.


How much is an idea worth?

It is true that many entrepreneurs are afraid of talking about their idea, fearing someone might copy it. However, an idea itself has little value. What does have value? Execution!

Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, says just that to the twins “If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you would have invented Facebook”.

That being said, unlike talking about your idea, many entrepreneurs hire service providers for all sorts of tasks: coding, marketing, biz development and more. These professionals don’t just hear about the idea. They are exposed to the inner workings of your business. 


What can we do about that?

What can we do about that? A Non-Compete agreement is one that an employee or freelancer signs to legally pledge that they will not enter into competition with their employers once their employment is terminated.

In 2004 the twins sued Mark Zuckerberg. In 2008, they reached a settlement. The twins received $20M and an additional $45M in Facebook shares (which since more than doubled in value). The twins went and used the money in their new investment career. They ended up buying 1% of all Bitcoin, and became the first bitcoin billionaires.

Who knows? Maybe with the scheduled release of Facebook’s blockchain-based system, Diem (formerly known as Libra), the twins, and Zuckerberg will meet again.

In the aftermath, although the Winklevoss twins went on to succeed in business and, perhaps, even more so following the whole Facebook affair, one never knows what could happen; it’s always best to cover your bases. Better safe than sorry, right?

Until next time,
Clawdia

(Image is from freepik.com)