Young entrepreneurs and the startups they create should take the risks associated with sharing their ideas in the early stages as the potential benefits far outweight any downsides. This is an idea being advocated by Scott Weiss from Andreessen Horowitz.
He makes a compelling argument for going against the grain and being more open.
One of the rookie mistakes first-time entrepreneurs often make is to be too guarded about their idea – in fact, many will actually spend their first $25,000 on patent lawyers without ever fully vetting their product. In order to gain credibility and attract investor attention, it’s critical to aggressively seek out the most relevant people in the world and get their feedback. I believe most young entrepreneurs massively overestimate the chances of someone stealing their idea versus the benefits associated with sharing it.
Scott Weiss (2014).
Being a little guarded probably still has some value I would think. So don't just go share everything with everybody. The bigger point I think is that maybe we shouldn't be so protective of the mere idea until it has at least been tested and validated to be something worthwhile.
The important thing is to share freely and consult with everyone possible who is likely to be helpful and helpful people encompass more than investors. Helpful includes others who have tried the concept before or those that are the demonstrated leaders in the field being addressed. Why would you want to leave out the input from people like this anyway?
It seems this idea isn't as counter intuitive afterall. It is just plain common sense!