Five (5) Rules of WEN
- Verbal NDA
- Entrepreneurial Mindset
- Be Bold, Be Professional & Add Value
- Team Up
- Have Fun!
1. Verbal NDA
By staying and participating you are agreeing not to disclose anyone else's proprietary information, if you do you will be ostracized from the group and even more great ideas in addition to suffering
from the normal legal consequences, so please be professional and discreet.
At the same time, if you are sharing about your company, don't share truly sensitive info or trade secrets that you wouldn't want out on the street, we don't really need that much detail in order to help you effectively in this meeting. Schedule a private meeting with a written NDA from all parties at the meeting if you really need to go into that much detail.
For Banter presenters - Just give us the very brief elevator pitch on what market your company serves, what problem it solves for them and what you need help with. We don't need a long presentation with all the mostly boring and irrelevant detail on how it solves that problem. As Entrepreneurs ourselves we can figure out, guess at, or simply imagine all that part and ask clarifying questions when we need to. So don't disclose your trade secrets or proprietary info we don't need anyways. Get to the root of your challenge and let us take it from there.
2) Entrepreneurial Mindset
This is a group for entrepreneurs and small business owners in mind and we will treat you as if you are one, even if you think you are only pretending. We are all making things up as we go along anyways, so shed your "Employee & Slave Mentality Thinking" at the door and be your own boss. Here at the very least you are president of your own one person company that may happen to have another company as your largest customer, so think and talk like the owner and president of your company, not like a wage slave.
NOTE: As Entrepreneurs we are all looking for new customers and new business opportunities so here it is actually OK to solicit business and new contracts just consider your audience when making your offers.
3) Be Bold, Be Professional, & Add Value
Entrepreneurs are known for acting quickly and decisively, striking while the iron is hot, so when an idea or inspiration, or question occurs to you take immediate action on it.
Either writes it down, and/or speaks up immediately. Don't raise your hand and passively sit by waiting to be called on, that doesn't work well here. Just speak out and ask your question or make your comment. Our facilitators do a great job of making sure things don't get too out of hand so let them.
When you speak up be bold, no one here has all the answers, and no question is truly dumb - in fact some of the "dumbest" lead to the best breakthroughs. State the obvious; it is the mark of genius and clarity.
And don't just shoot other ideas down, work to refine them and make them even better.
If everything you do is aimed at adding value to every idea, and every person, and every business around you, you can't help but add value to your own ideas, self, and businesses. So practice adding as much value as you possibly can to the conversation and the group.
And never, ever attack the person. We like people and never know which person will have the next great idea we can use so we're here to make friends not enemies.
4) Team Up
Nobody in the room has just one good idea, and most won't share their best ones simply because they don't have time in this format to do so. So feel free to get with those who most inspired you and ask them to be on your team. Together Everyone Achieves More and you can get to where you really want to go even faster with good help than without it. Compensate your team members well for their contributions, and remember that while cash is king, barter is better so be creative and come up with lots of ways to trade value with them for best results.
5) Have Fun
Part of being an Entrepreneur is for the sheer fun of it. You get to make stuff up, play, joke around, and mess with convention. So please do have fun, and lots of it, just don't do it at someone else's expense. This is not a roast, and not a place for insults. Rather challenge yourself to be creative in the way you complement each other and inspire one another on to bigger and better greatness. I promise you that is where things get truly fun!
Written by Donald Kubelka for WEN. Based on the following thoughts...
Ideas Are Not Unique
An NDA does not really "protect" the entrepreneur or the party being told the "secrets". One cannot truly or even legally protect an idea; they can only protect a particular expression of one. So having people agree to an NDA deceives them into thinking they are somehow protected when in reality they are not.
The true value is not in the idea itself, but rather in the execution and marketing of that idea. In other words, we are back to the expression of the idea as having the real value. Also, you know better than anyone that no idea is truly unique, and that there are probably lots of people executing on that exact same idea at any given time.
I believe that we at WEN want to encourage people to execute on their ideas whether they share them with the group and an NDA doesn't really help with this.
Thieves Steal Regardless of Laws or Agreements
People that want to and are going to "steal" ideas will regardless of whether they sign a piece of paper or not. And the ones that will be honest don't need the paper to be honest.
Plus, as a WEN participant, I want to be free to take whatever good ideas I get out of the meeting and apply them to my business in whatever way I see fit without having to worry about whether I violated someone else's trust.
I would much rather they NOT tell me their secrets, so that I don't have to worry about spilling them, or about being perceived as a criminal.
Teach the people instead to package their ideas properly so that they can be freely shared without giving away things that shouldn't be given away.
Please don't put us under that heavy burden of Non-Disclosure. Let us remain free to share and receive as much or as little as works for us.
Prosecuting Violators is Expensive
Successfully prosecuting a violator of an NDA costs a lot of money, time, and energy (usually the exact three things that those who would otherwise benefit most from an NDA don't have) and even if one wins, collecting on that judgment is a whole other story.
In addition, so what if they win. The loser can still go out and do the exact same thing or something similar enough under a different name, or in a different location or market, thus starting the whole expensive process over again and rendering the victory a pyrrhic one at best (sure they won in principle but at what cost, and what did they really gain, since the criminal is free to go commit
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