Full-time, Equity-only Commitments are a Key Sign of Strength - from Peter Thiel.
The best way to prove to yourself, potential investors and to any potential future employees that you have a killer idea, is to get a number of A-level engineers to join full-time with equity-only deals.
The reason is simple. While investors, including angels and venture capitalists, are good at picking which markets to go after, they are more often than not in an incredibly poor position to determine whether or not a founder is the real deal, whether the idea is technically doable and whether the founder involved could build the team necessary to succeed.
A-level engineers, on the other hand, are in a great position to know whether the founder is a bullshitter or not, whether the technology is real or not and how doable the whole thing is. If I see A-level engineers joining any company, I stand up and pay attention - because I know that A-level engineers, unlike founders and many investors, are very risk intolerant and skeptical people by nature. Investors only have to risk capital and a little bit of time, but engineers considering to join as employees have a much higher threshold to cross. They are risking their livelihoods, their reputations and will be the ones committed to endless hours of working on the thing.
When a founder convinces A-level engineers to quit and join them full time with equity deals, it is a major indication of the strength of the founder, the technology and of the idea.