Should I pitch on This Week in Startups when we aren't yet ready to launch?


After two years of development, our start-up is pre-beta and in an incubator. We have the chance to pitch on This Week in Startups, but I am concerned about too much publicity from potential competition prior to establishing traction. This opportunity probably won't be available to us when we're ready.

If you don't follow the show, it is downloaded by over 100,000 industry insiders many of whom might be looking for new ideas rather than become potential customers.

Eric Ries would say don't go on, my ego and passion for our business says otherwise. I'm stuck.

To pitch of not to pitch?

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asked Mar 15 '12 at 15:55
192 points
  • 2 years of development doesn't make a finished product; it's what happens after you are live that will shape your website. So personally I wouldn't worry. – Noel Abrahams 11 years ago
  • @NoelAbrahams, I agree that we're not finished. Exactly my concern. What do you mean, "I wouldn't worry"? Don't publicize within the start-up space or do it? – Laramie 11 years ago

5 Answers


I wouldn't worry about someone stealing your idea.

If you have worked 2 years on the execution you would be 2 years ahead of any competition.

What I would worry about are those things:

  • Is this only a vanity thing or does it really contribute to new customers/clients?
  • Will this be a distraction from executing and diffuse your focus?

If you indeed think it will contribute to more customers/clients then by all means focus on getting them as early as possible and forge ahead. Don't think you will get swamped by demand just because you get public, though. Instead, what might happen is that you don't see enough attention and get discouraged.

Bottom line: If you really think you will lose customers because you don't go public - then do it! Otherwise keep focused on getting customers and executing instead of distracting yourself.

answered Mar 15 '12 at 17:41
Anders Hansson
606 points
  • "If you have worked 2 years on the execution you would be 2 years ahead of any competition". Not really true. Replicating an idea takes only 40 to 50% of the original effort since it involves much less trial & error. I fully agree with all your other comments – Mac 11 years ago
  • It was a bit of exaggeration to drive my point through ;-) - but you're right in a sense. However if you are the one with the drive and original thoughts you will always be ahead of your competition. You will eventually need to go public anyway. – Anders Hansson 11 years ago
  • It very well might translate into a few customers, but also a disproportionate attention from opportunists. It's sticky. – Laramie 11 years ago



Your competition is not the problem. No one will drop everything they are doing and decide to copy you.

Also, don't expect too much from TWIST. But it's an opportunity, and not grabing it is a huge mistake. It won't come back. A couple of years ago, I had a national TV show (think CBS 60 minutes) who wanted to meet an entrepreneur. That was an opportunity to reach millions of users. Amazingly, a lot of the entrepreneurs I asked decided to pass, because they weren't ready, or later would be better. That opportunity never came back.

answered Mar 17 '12 at 06:10
Alain Raynaud
10,927 points
  • Thank. I appreciate the clear and relevant position. I suppose I'm just marking it correct because you told me what I wanted to hear anyway, but that's what the process is sometimes. The fact is I'm sponsoring a conference in Santiago, Chile that TWiST will be broadcasting and did a little too good of a job. I now have to compete against 4 other projects to get on. Hopefully you'll see me in a couple weeks. – Laramie 11 years ago


I organized a TWIST episode in Sri Lanka and I had the same problem over and over again! It was just technically impossible to get some to understand that no one is going to drop everything they are doing and start working on your idea. Even if someone were to copy what you are doing, they would need to see traction anyway and most likely what will happen is, if you have traction, you will get an offer!

answered Aug 25 '12 at 14:40
Sesiri Pathirane
11 points


Showing an audience an idea in an unfinished website may not be a big risk.

There are likely to be many future developments that only exist in the minds of the founders.

Furthermore, there are many developments that can only evolve from a certain set of initial conditions that are unique to your website. These are only likely to be released to the public progressively once the website is launched and people start using it.

A website is a complex beast.

I don't think there are many websites around with one single feature that can make or break them (if copied by someone else). If you do have such a feature then I would consider applying for a provisional patent.

answered Mar 17 '12 at 04:45
Noel Abrahams
111 points


Many things in your question and comments here sound concerning. You have developed a product for 2 years and it's not even in beta yet? What is pre-beta? It sounds like you are way too scared to show anyone your product or let anyone use it. Don't be the best kept secret, get it out there and see what happens. If you live in fear of someone copying you, you will never succeed.

answered Mar 17 '12 at 11:27
Joel Friedlaender
5,007 points
  • Joel. Normally I would agree with you wholeheartedly, but there is not a product to use yet. If it were another Ruby on Rails Social network for cats or time management solution, it would have been out a year ago. – Laramie 11 years ago
  • I suspect are doing to much in your first version then. I find it hard to believe there is anything that needs 2 years before a MVP is ready. The best thing you can do is launch and get feedback, things you think you need you probably don't, and there will be other things you thought were low priority that will be very important. I don't even see how what you worked on 2 years ago wouldn't need rewriting now, with such a long development cycle surely you are redoing work you did at the beginning? – Joel Friedlaender 11 years ago

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