I’m the first point of contact for our small business. As such, I’m the one who reads all of the contact form submissions. Here is part of a form submission I received recently:
Before I talk to you about my project, I need you to sign an NDA.
What I think they really mean is: I don’t trust you.
The fact that you recently saw The Social Network and think every developer is going to steal your idea and turn it in to the next Facebook behind your back is not my problem.
I have a pretty standard response that I send to people who ask for an NDA. For my developer friends, I’m posting it here for you to use as you see fit:
No, I will not sign your NDA and here’s why; I don’t like signing anything that I don’t read and understand completely. Language in NDAs (and most contracts) love to throw in all sorts of legalese that just don’t give me a comfy feeling by signing without having somebody else take a look at it first. So this means that I’m 1-2 hours in, and maybe out of pocket if it turns out to be something I need to have a lawyer take a quick look at, and this is just to talk about YOUR project.
I have not looked at your NDA, but I give you my word that we are honest and trustworthy people and as programmers we are far too busy to be stealing any ideas to work on for ourselves.
I realize this doesn’t sit well with some people. If this is a show stopper and you need to find a different developer, we understand completely. However, I’d be more than happy to talk to you about your project with the understanding that any information you tell me IS held with the strictest confidence.
For any prospective clients who are turned off by this, I offer you this link. No hard feelings.