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Start-up companies feel especially vulnerable with regard to revealing their technology to potential customers and partners. But the instinct to protect one's intellectual property -- the hard-earned fruits of their innovation labors -- at all costs often results in missed business opportunities. I’m not saying that we should throw caution to the wind and publish our IP on myspace.com. I do suggest, however, that we contemplate what a friend and colleague advised me a couple of years ago: That Italian racing cars do not have rear-view mirrors. The reason for this is that drivers need not worry about what is happening in their wake and should at all times focus on what’s in front of them.
More often than not, the business opportunity being explored has more potential for a positive outcome than a negative one. It’s very difficult to commercialize your technology if nobody sees it. And let’s face it – if your partners and competitors want to see your technology, they’ll find a way. Keeping our eyes on the road ahead is what helps us all to keep our market leadership position and not follow in our competitors’ wake.
So I disagree with Andy Grove when he opines that only the paranoid survive. Don’t let paranoia get in the way of realizing your company’s potential.