A new client asked me to send him my NDA – Non Disclosure Agreement – and he’d send me his.
I don’t have an NDA. I don’t believe in them.
Here’s my promise: I won’t divulge confidential info.
Plain and simple.
I’ve been in high tech for many years and have seen a zillion NDAs, all of which:
– Promise to sue me if anything is revealed. And I mean anything – from the fact we are working together to their address or phone number.
– Word their NDA so broadly that anything could be actionable. And I mean anything -from the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.
– Are impossible to enforce. I mean really, how can they prove that you and not someone else leaked the info? Apple has been fighting this war for years and it looks like a game of whack-a-mole.
– Are costly to defend. Ever talked to a lawyer?
– Usually involve material that is widely known to everyone except the person insisting on the NDA. Some companies can’t believe that they are the only ones who could be so brilliant as to think of this idea. I was an expert witness once for a case that involved one company claiming to have invented the term “electronic mall.” I proved that the term had been in use 20 years before their company started up!
– Imply a lack of trust which gets the relationship off on the wrong foot. Enough said.
So why bother?
I wrote this to the client and added:
We trust each other or we don’t. I think we trust each other.
Handshakes are a good thing.
My client agreed and we shook hands electronically.
This applies to the request for NDAs, or any need to prove oneself to a client beyond the edge of ones reputation. I believe. If they aren’t confident or trusting at the beginning, then in my opinion, they need to find someone else to work with and I’m not afraid to make that call.