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I've been programming for a long time, so I don't think it had anything to do with productive programming. In fact, each attempt was less work than the previous.

The thing that I didn't understand is that being successful in business has very little to do with having an original idea. You're much better off just looking at how other people are making money and becoming their competitor or improving upon what they are doing. 99% of successful businesses work this way. This may seem obvious to a lot of people, but I kept spinning my wheels trying to invent something instead of doing market research and building something that I know people need or want.

Most innovation happens this way. Get some existing idea, develop on it and market/sell it off as a better alternative. Seems simple. If only.

"If only" - totally agree.

Just building something people need/want, or improving upon what works, is a deceptively simple generalization. It boils down to execution, and that's where our originality still comes into play.

I agree as well. I wasn't suggesting that's all it takes, but rather, that was the missing ingredient for me. I think different people are missing different ingredients to success, and that was the one that I was missing.

So I assume that your third attempt based on "becoming their competitor or improving upon" strategy.

If so, how difficult was it (or how long did it take) to get organic traffic/customers through google, etc. Since I would think your competitors were more "established" in the pagerank, seo etc.

Basically, I'm just wondering how hard is it to get traction against entrenched players. Even if your product were superior, you still need to draw traffic to sell and prove it.

It actually happened immediately. I only have one real competitor, and my product is superior, and I still haven't overtaken them. That's part of what I learned from this. They were making enough that if I just took 5% of their income I could still make a lot of money. Sometimes being #2 is OK.

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