Would you expose your project to a tech event before having a first version publicly available?
I'm building an app that has a set of specifications for first version, but also I already know the future specifications, thus a lot of the future execution of the idea is known at this point, not just the general ideas about those features. Someone said on onstartups that "the idea itself is not the object of value, the long term execution is where the value lies ".
I wanted to develop an MVP(Minimum Viable Product) but that would mean to have a fully functional application with users that can log in, etc. This would take more time, and currently, the target is to make it work with a single user, no sessions, etc. - just to get the concept implemented and then focus on making multi-user and all the stuff needed to actually get an MVP and launch the first version to the public.
In short time, there is a tech conference where I wish to participate with this project and I've been thinking of this opportunity for a long time now. The tricky part is that in order to participate, I have to expose a lot of details about the execution of the project to the conference's commitee board so they can select winning projects. Also, if the project participates in a specific conference section, the details get published online.
But I constantly think that exposing the project to this conference before having an MVP(that is launched and users could create accounts, log in, play with it, and so on) could result in issues with the idea being taken and implemented by someone else before I even get to V1.0.
I consider the conference is a great source for early community feedback, possible collaborations, funding, idea validation, etc and all these could boost the project much more than if not participating. But, is it still a wise choice to participate to this conference and expose the project before having an MVP?
I was also thinking to expose just teaser details about the project to get the attention, but I guess that would reduce the chances of being selected. The idea came from this post where @Mircea said "But you can still tease people. Incite them. Capture their interest. You don't necessarily have to go into specific details of describing your business. This is probably suited to consumer businesses".
I don't have much startups-related experience, so I'm hoping for someone that has lived the experience and knows the pitfalls and the things for which you need to be carefull to share something that could improve the current sittuation. It would be of great help, as of this moment, I don't really know whom else to ask.
I've read a lot of other posts on this forum, and I know that ideas are worthless, execution is everything, and stuff like that. I know it is advised to expose your idea out there and build an MVP fast. But I chose to ask this question because this situation is a bit more specific, with that conference approaching, with the project in a pre-MVP state and the other details. I hope you'll understand, and you'll still consider my question interesting and worth to answer.
Most events like you are describing are fairly expensive to attend due to booth fees, costs for marketing materials, time spent at the both, etc.
In general, without a completed or at least demo-ready version of the software or the marketing budget and expertise needed to generate "buzz" about something that doesn't exist yet, you're probably better off spending your money elsewhere.
If you main goal is to get community feedback you'd probably do much better with a private beta, focus group or the like.
The biggest risk isn't someone "stealing your idea" its that you'd waste a lot of time and money without much in the way of a benefit for it.
I was recently at a tech conference (Web Expo 2.0) and there was a single company with a booth with circumstances similar to yours. My impression was that they vanished against the backdrop of other companies that actually had a product. They may have got some validation or basic ideas from people walking around but I rather doubt they got any "boost" from this "exposure". All I saw was an unfinished idea. As you have already noted, ideas are a dime a dozen. Only execution matters and you don't have any yet. There will be another tech conference, and another, and another when you actually have something to show.