I’ve signed a few non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) – or confidentiality agreements – in my time, one quite recently.

But while I can bring to mind plenty of good deals I’ve done with people on a handshake, even a virtual handshake, I can’t recall a single good deal that has started with signing an NDA before we even talked.

Fortunately, with the last NDA I signed, I still have no real idea what the proponent actually had in mind, so I’m in no risk of letting anything slip in an unguarded moment. I.e. nothing to let slip.

What I do know is that I decided that in future I would either not sign another NDA just to have a conversation. Or if I did it would be for very compelling reasons.

Top SecretNow I discover that VCs do not sign NDAs. Hmmm, I’d wondered about that.

Rick Segal spells it out:

VC firms typically do not sign NDAs for first looks/meetings.

VC firms typically do not sign NDAs with promises not to evaluate the same or similar businesses included.

VC firms typically do not sign NDAs with 5 year no contact clauses included.

VC firms typically do not sign NDAs with promises to report any contact with competitive businesses included.

So why should I sign an NDA as a pre-requisite just to discuss a possible joint venture? No good reason, as far as I can see. Several good reasons not to.

The only exception I can think of is where a government agency requires it. In my experience, that’s not likely to arise anyway.

RIP NDA for this cat.

via Zoli Erdos and Alexander Muse

photo by spekulator

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Des Walsh is an executive coach. He helps business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide deal effectively with the feeling of being left behind or overwhelmed, or both, about social media – especially LinkedIn - and how to engage safely and effectively with social media to help grow their business. Connect with Des on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get Des’s weekly Social Business Bites (select snippets of his "best of the week" online finds).