attending tech event before MVP


Short question

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.

Thank you!

Intellectual Property

asked Apr 6 '11 at 17:31
222 points
  • if anyone has any hint, or short answer, please post it. It will be of great help to me! – Leadgy 13 years ago
  • no ideas? I don't know where else to ask this. Thank you. – Leadgy 13 years ago

2 Answers


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.

answered Apr 8 '11 at 02:19
413 points
  • Thank you! About the expenses, the accepted projects are sponsored by the event and they pay most of those fees. The presentation is not at a booth, but it's an open speech in front of a lot of people attending in that presentation room – Leadgy 13 years ago
  • There is a demo-ready version of the project and the execution details could help a lot to make a good accompanying slideshow. But the main issue is we can't publish the product yet to open public access. There is no multi-user yet, no log-in, etc. - just the raw implementation of the idea. And this makes us think what if those execution details that we have there are recreated by some company and they get to release v1.0 to open public before we even get a chance at it? – Leadgy 13 years ago
  • We don't have much business-related experience, we've read a lot of startups forums and startup-related articles but we feel it's not enough to answer or point us in the right direction with this particular issue. I know it sounds like the "don't steal my idea" thing, but in this case a lot of execution details are already known and a demo version is possible, just not the v1.0. However, the tech event is far in the future, so there is time to implement a lot of features, but we're also thinking about the details given in order to participate - which we must provide in short time. – Leadgy 13 years ago
  • I'd think about what your goals are then. I've done things similar to what your describing to recruit beta users and potential launch customers. It probably can't hurt to go up, show your product, and collect some business cards from interested people. – Rain 13 years ago


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.

answered Apr 8 '11 at 01:37
Kenneth Vogt
2,917 points
  • I appreciate your reply - it makes sense. About that company, I guess they didn't come with something really interesting to you or something that would draw your attention to them. Because I strongly think that if they came with something that you'd feel would be more useful than other existing solutions, and you'd feel they could make a difference, it wouldn't matter so much they didn't have a product yet. And if it were me, I'd be very interested in what they have to offer. – Leadgy 13 years ago
  • And we can get at that event with a demo version, but as I said to @Rain, it's the fact that we cannot have an open public version until then with all features that a v1.0 requires. To participate, we have to give in a lot of execution details that even the demo version cannot cover, so they get the big idea of the application so we have a chance to being selected – Leadgy 13 years ago
  • And we're thinking, if our project really draws interest, then it could make someone to reimplement faster than we can get to v1.0. The event is much later, so we can implement a lot of features until then, but we're also thinking about the details given in order to participate – Leadgy 13 years ago
  • It's just that we've worked for a long time at this, there was a lot of effort, we just want a fair chance. But we don't know what to do and we have a limited business-related experience, so everything looks like a big unknown to us and this makes us think about these issues. I hope you understand and it makes sense – Leadgy 13 years ago

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