Here is what we know. First, it’s sort of original.
I have a specific business idea in mind. It has the potential to change the world in a fundamental way and yet it is little more than a combination of existing ideas that are proven and successful. No inventions are necessary. This idea is in the Internet realm, broadly speaking.
Second, it has a big upside.
The upside potential is probably similar to Amazon.com, just for sizing purposes.
No, even bigger than that!
… this idea would be deeply transformative to the entire world, in an enormously positive way. Governments would save gigantic amounts of money and economies would soar, although the economic impact could take several years to play out. One of my tricks for staying interested in life is that I like to have a few “change the world” ideas in play at any given time, no matter how unlikely they are. This fits that model perfectly. The odds of any startup working are tiny, but if this one worked, holy cow.
Third, it will likely require $10 million in investment.
Fourth, he intends to do nothing himself.
Fifth, his track record is mixed.
If you would like some background on the quality of my ideas in general, my blog has plenty of examples stretching back several years. At least 95% of my ideas are ill-conceived or impractical. But I usually know it. I think this particular idea falls into the inevitable category, similar to the way it was inevitable that goods would someday be sold online. There’s a 100% chance that this idea will be implemented someday by someone. The value is in going first and locking in the market
Sixth, but that is OK, if you are interested he will disclose the idea to you fully. But he will only tell it to “experienced venture capital professionals.”
Now you might say, didn’t Nobel Laureate Ken Arrow tell us this is bad idea. After all, once it is disclosed why would anyone pay.
To this Adams has two responses. First, “I won’t ask for a non-disclosure agreement because credible players don’t stay in business long if they steal ideas.” Well, that is all very well but if the upside is what he says it is I think that VCs might be thinking of this as a retirement ticket.
But his second response is better game theory.
If I get no responses, or no one is interested, I will describe my idea sometime next week just to get it out there.
Ah, so if the idea is only valuable if whomever is implementing it keeps it secret for a while to develop it, then if they were to steal it, Adams will scorch the earth. And they had better act quickly on that.