From time to time, I’ll get issued an NDA from someone who has asked for an initial consult. They are assessing me and my ability to help them, and I am deciding whether or not I want to work with them as well.
Particularly in this case, the NDA request is always a red flag to me.
To me, it signals a lack of trust — which is not the best way to start a relationship.
My favorite infraction was the last NDA I signed, and likely the last one I will sign:
- Did a free session to assess project fit.
- The CEO insisted on an NDA after that meeting; I signed it.
- Never heard from the CEO again.
Dumb on my part to sign the NDA. It didn’t have any affect on my business, but lesson learned just the same.
Why go to the trouble if you’ve decided that we’re not going to be working together anyway? What are you afraid of?
I say put the expended effort into executing on your business goals rather than pushing paper around to no effect. That feels to me ultra-corporate and bureaucratic — and not a good sign for you if that’s how you’re running your early-stage startup.
Here’s a more fully-articulated case against signing — or issuing — an NDA. It’s not just a waste of time, but it actually can start the relationship at a deficit.
Non-Disclosure Agreements — Mistrust Is Not a Good Starting Point
(Episode 107 of Marketing Without the Marketing)