Getting feedback on an idea


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.

Research Viability

asked Oct 30 '09 at 05:27
Raj Raman
66 points

3 Answers


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.

answered Oct 30 '09 at 05:44
1,080 points
  • Thanks. Well, I think I've identified an industry insider, someone my friend knows but has not been in touch in a few years. My friend is happy to introduce me, but he needs me to write out an email describing the solution. And then maybe, the industry insider *may* decide to meet with me. Sounds tenuous to me :) – Raj Raman 14 years ago
  • And the Sales process has begun... Provide enough information to pique their curiosity and seem like you are not like the rest of the failures in your industry, but don't provide all the information so that they will want to talk to you and you can help guide them through the process. Also seriously consider finding an approach to identify 100s of such industry insiders. – Vineet 14 years ago
  • FYI, I haven't found 100s, but the ones that I have found have liked my pitch. Thanks Vineet and all. – Raj Raman 14 years ago


I would be as candid and open as you could be in such a meeting. The reasons would be:

  1. My idea is currently just an idea. Chances are that the idea is probably not really feasible or there is a roadblock that you may have overlooked in your analysis. You want to be as open as possible here to really understand if there actually is an opportunity here.
  2. The person who is willing to give you feedback is actually the one who is doing you the favor and not the other way around. Saying stuff like "I really can't share everything...I hope you understand" will probably end up him/her thinking that this is a waste of time and will tune from then on out.
  3. The person giving you feedback could potentially be someone who you could work with and could make mutual introductions for you. Without fully understanding what you want to do he/she will not have a good idea of what you are wanting to do. This creates more problems.

In the one of chance that this guy says "Wow this is a great idea" and he/she runs of to execute it for 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.

answered Oct 30 '09 at 05:41
Usman Sheikh
1,728 points
  • Thanks Usman. Yea, I generally agree. Its just that I don't want to put all of it in email even before we've had the chance to meet. I guess I haven't found anyone yet who's a good friend of a friend. – Raj Raman 14 years ago


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.

answered Oct 30 '09 at 06:33
John Mac Intyre
1,086 points
  • An advisor/angel, yes thanks. – Raj Raman 14 years ago
  • ... with knowledge and influence instead of cash. – John Mac Intyre 14 years ago

Your Answer

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • • Bullets
  • 1. Numbers
  • Quote
Not the answer you're looking for? Ask your own question or browse other questions in these topics:

Research Viability