I want to get feedback on an idea for a solution targeted at an industry that I have no experience in. So I'm on the lookout for an industry insider, sufficiently senior to get candid feedback from. But since I will most likely not know this person, I'm not sure how much to reveal. And I think that to get meaningful feedback, I'll need to open up the kimono all the way.
I'm sure others have solved this before. I looked at the answer base but didn't find anything relevant.
What do you guys think? Appreciate any guidance.
Building a successful product is hard - you are not going to be able to do it easily if you don't have any industry experience. The best approximation to having industry experience is to get feedback from industry insiders - so tell them everything (with regards to the problem and how your solution is going to work).
If you want to keep some stuff with you, don't tell them how the technology works and don't give them your IP (code, etc). But definitely describe your solution.
Remember that the first big challenge for most startups is that no one will care about your product (even if it is free). The next big of the challenge is in getting some money for it. The third challenge would be in your product being good enough so that you get cash flow positive. The last challenge is that there is gobs and gobs of money that you will have lots of competitors - so don't worry too much about this part.
I would be as candid and open as you could be in such a meeting. The reasons would be:
In the one of chance that this guy says "Wow this is a great idea" and he/she runs of to execute it for themselves...you still really haven't lost. Most likely you would have needed someone with expertise in the industry anyways and this could have even happened at a later stage.
Why not find somebody who's not only in the industry, but also has contacts and influence? If they show any interest at all in the idea, offer a small percent of your equity for on going guidance (biweekly phone calls, etc..). This may help to ensure some confidentiality AND could generate buzz at launch date.
Perhaps you should approach this person like an investor. As far as the email goes, why not try to speak to him over the phone, give him general idea about your unique value proposition without giving away the farm, but hooks him into meeting you.