A non-compete is a non-starter

concert-768258_1920In my rock & roll days I played in a dozen groups, but not one that required me to promise in writing that I would not leave and start (or join) another band within a year. It just wasn't done. If it were, most of the all-time great bands would never have made it to their first rehearsal.

So why are “non-compete clauses” acceptable in other kinds of businesses, especially hi-tech?

It’s understandable that a company wants to protect its proprietary technology, but that can be handled with non-disclosure agreements. Obviously a company wants to discourage talented workers from leaving and taking their expertise to a competing enterprise.

But when too many companies in a given community demand non-competes, it becomes an innovation killer. It suppresses entrepreneurship in the region—and drives top talent to flee the community entirely to take up work where non-competes aren’t valid. (California, here I come!)