A few disconnected throughts about the concept of company secrets and open startups.
Companies are sharing more than they ever have before. Companies are openly sharing their best practices. Open source is the foundation upon which startups today are built. Patents are somewhat irrelevant for software startups.
The notion of “company secrets” is dated in the world of the open internet. I’ll go so far as to say companies often just hold paper secrets protected by NDA’s that aren’t really enforcable. This includes everything from internal practices, technology to financial secrets.
Information flows freely in private and public channels. Infact, CEO’s are the new celebrities, openly talking about how their organizations work on Twitter.
Open startups have embraced this shift, infact using openness as an opportunity for increased accountability. There is more benefit from being open than not, and open can even become a competitive advantage when it’s compounded over time. I think of companies like Basecamp - built on open source technology they founded, and to this day actively sharing their best practices.
The funny thing is, enterprise software hasn’t modelled this construct just yet, or atleast at scale. Slack is doing this this with shared channels, but for some reason that hasn’t really taken off. Creating an environment of learning together, especially between trusted organizations, I believe is a powerful one.