Odd little bits of financial news have a funny way of creeping through the cracks in between dreary market forecasts and predictions of economic apocalypse. If you haven’t heard, Warren Buffett bought $5 Billion worth of shares for Bank of America, and countered claims of being pressured to help out the ailing institution by giving his inspiration for the transaction; his bathwater. The Huffington Post explained his reasoning in their article about the story.
As this shows, a quick idea in the oddest of places can have dramatic implications for the market. At least when $5 Billion is involved. But Warren Buffett’s willingness to share his inspiration is not something that is seen often, especially in times of economic duress. In fact, quite a few employees, entrepreneurs and freelancers seem to clam up when it comes to ideas. After all, how do you know your colleague isn’t going to steal that idea? Heck, how many wannabe Warren Buffett-s in the making have taken long soaks in the bathtub since this article came out? But without collaboration, ideas have a tendency to fester and die. Having a good sounding board can only help to strengthen an idea and test it against criticism.
So how does somebody share an idea, without the fear of losing credit for it? Here are three ways to share with others, without having to immediately run to the boss to stake your claim on it.
1. Find a group you trust and establish some sort of working relationship with the people in it.
It is fairly likely that you work next to a particular group of people, or are part of a specific team. In order for things to function smoothly, you have to get along with the people that you are in close proximity with. You may have even gone out to lunch or just hung out together when work got a little slow. Because a relationship is in place, they are much less likely to stab you in the back and steal your idea. Thievery is all about ease; it is hard to steal from somebody who you are closer to because the fallout would typically be harder to deal with than whatever you gained from stealing. Plus, most people aren’t complete sociopaths and would probably feel bad about not crediting the person who originally had the idea if they were friends. So if you want a group to vet ideas with, your team at work, or even the person who shares your cubicle, are great places to start. They are probably trained in the same field as you are, and would be a great place to get initial criticism. But if you are in an industry that seems borderline-sociopathic, and you probably know if you are, you can always get a copyright for your idea for you take this step.