We are actively looking for a co-founder/CTO. Tomorrow we are going to our first Meetup event to start meeting people and shmooze. As of now we have a wireframe 95% complete, but we have only shared the idea with a few of our close friends and family, as we are carefully protecting it.
Question: What is just the right amount of information to share, without giving away the whole concept?
There is one piece to our puzzle thats extremely important, and really, its that piece that will make us successful...but its the one piece that should be held privately for now. So how do I generate interest, yet keep the best part to ourselves?
Also, should I request an NDA before showing of the wireframe and our main idea?
I would give a definite yes on the NDA before showing the wireframes and discussing more details. I am a software developer myself, and have been approached several times by potential startup founders with ideas. They have always asked me to sign an NDA, and I never hesitated.
As far as how much to reveal, in your group presentations, I would say just enough to tease/entice. Be prepared though with your approach to take if people start asking specific followup questions before signing the NDA. You don't want to get super defensive and turn them off, but you also want to protect the details of your idea and the work you have put into it so far.
A question for you, more big picture, but why do you think you need to go the co-founder CTO route, and not just hire a salaried lead engineer/architect (with profit sharing or small amount of vested equity)? There are many more risks in the former, especially if you and your cofounders are not technical.
If it were me you were trying to shomooze,
I would want to know :
I wouldn't worry too much about them stealing your idea, technical partners have a lot of options and there is far more to addressing a space than simply some wireframes.
Things like marketing, sales, business management and all the things the tecnical guy is less likely to know about or be able to do without you, much like you can't develop withoput them ... It is partnership because no one can do it on their own.
Any good CTO will already be able to fill in 80% of your wireframes after a little discussion assuming they know your space, and a week later after some research if they don't. If you have wireframes already a technical partner may want to redo a reasonable amount because they will know stuff you don't and the negotation is the bit your hiring them for.
What they should ask you :
If they dive off into technical stuff like hosting on Amazon or Azure using .NET, JAVA or Ruby, then this is an indicator they know their tech but don't understand business at all. Your risk here is them going off to develop horizontally scalable, self-replicating, auto-healing architecture.
You need to make a call about can you work with someone if you can't communicate to them.
Really, you want someone who will challenge your ideas, make you think about alternatives but be gracious in defeat if you still want to stick to your vision.
Regarding evaluating a potential technical co-founders skills - find someone you trust who can do that evaluation for you and have them interview your candidate once you find them. One of the people I reached out to in my networking made the offer to do the interview for me. It was a great idea and a great offer.
Alternative view - many people put too much value in the "idea" (google "ideas are worthless" and you'll see lots of posts like this one published in inc.
I wouldn't feel too comfortable signing an nda and exposing myself to a non-compete suit (and associated legal expenses) just to have a potential conversation.
An oreillynet post in 2005 declared that "The most brilliant idea with no execution is worth $20". I'd say that Lawsuits are more expensive than that.
You have mockups, why not just push through and create a MVP and get customer feedback? Then you can validate your concept idea and then determine what the next steps are. Get a freelance developer to create the prototype if necessary. There's a bunch of posts here about how to find developers.
Do you really need a CTO? There are definitely times to have one - but pre-funding / shoestring budget + no prototype may not be the best time to "hire" one (and no, there are too many "work for equity" jobs out there in companies further along that makes "work for free" programs not worth the time).
(Note: I'm not antiCTO - I've been one for several funded startup companies now. But CTO doesn't equate to "Cheaper Than Outsourcing" or "flashy titled developer that lives on a ramen budget & works for equity". )