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How do you stay motivated when you see your idea executed by someone else?
27 points by throwaway_88 on Dec 14, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 11 comments
I often think of an imagined solution to an imagined problem and promptly get madly excited about it. The first thing I usually do at this point is check domain name availability. The second thing I do is look for websites/apps that already implement this solution.

I explore the websites and find places where I can improve the UX, add features, etc., but my excitement vanishes the moment I see a moderately well-executed solution. My thinking goes like this: even if I do start working on this and get somewhere, they'd always have an edge over me since they've already learned so much about this space and (gasp) have real users, so I don't stand a chance.

Am I simply lacking in coming up with ideas/solutions, or is this a barrier I should somehow break through? What do you do in similar situations?

Here's what I do in similar situations (inspired by 4SE).

1. I identify the customer value derived from my product/idea.

2. Understand and identify market type: a) Existing market: People know about the product, the problem it is solving. b) New market: Even if there are other players out there, it's still not commonly understood by customer why it matters

3. How to position yourself. a) Existing market, you need a something different... this is what I ask myself: * Can I provide the same value for cheaper? * Can I provide more value for similar price? * Can I focus on a a subset of the market (e.g. niche), and adapt better to it?

b) New market: The challenge for new markets is not so much how 'good' the product is, but rather how good you are are explaning to customers why you matter. So I ask myself: * Can I make it simpler/more understandable? * Can I get better market adoption through my own techniques?

If I don't answer "yes" to any of those questions, I either rethink to idea so it fits one of those cases, or move on. Hope this helps :)

When I started my current company a few years ago, there were a few competitors in the space. Currently, the space is mostly dominated by us and another new entrant and we have expanded the market beyond what it encompassed before.

There are many reasons behind this outcome. The other new entrant and us definitely have better products. However, in addition, some incumbents just didn't innovate as fast while others just lost focus. There are also companies that ran out of money.

Both Dropbox and Hipmunk demonstrated how it is possible to enter a competitive space and win.

Well, the truth is we rarely come up with original ideas.

In the end what you want to do is realize your vision, because after all, that's what makes your product unique.

You simply have to come up with better marketing tactics than the other guy. Sometimes consumer curiousity is enough to get your foot in the door.

If it really looks that bad, you could always look for a niche in the market :), be it location, specifics or users - remember consumers are more important than the competition.

I have lots of ideas. They're mostly things I want. Seeing one implemented successfully elsewhere means that I'm having good ideas and that I can solve the problem by simply throwing money at it and move on to something else.

Or, I can straight up compete with them and let them do the hard work of explaining to people what the heck we're both doing. The most successful company is rarely the first one out the gate.

Figure out how well they're doing. Did you find 10 apps doing the same? Or just 1? Are they growing? Do they have lots of customers? (ie. read their blog, their jobs page etc.)

If the market is growing, figure out how, with a less mature product (at first), you could capture a part of that. If it's not growing, they've un-validated the idea for you :)

It's impossible to do anything if you have to look for a completely novel idea.

I like the lean startup concept. Keep the costs low and just forge ahead. Once you've started on the idea, you'll learn a lot more about the field, and be able to innovate in areas that you previously never dreamt of.

Just get going : )

I think this is a symptom of lack of domain knowledge. If you knew the problem in the domain extremely well and was confident, I think one would want to forge ahead, and start building it because he/she knows exactly what users want.

If only the best birds sang in the forest. It would be pretty quiet.

And they would have nothing pushing them to be the best birds, so it would be pretty unpleasant.

Related anecdote:

When we first started, the niche for our first retail site was already dominated by several existing companies. Like idiots who didn't know any better, we went ahead anyway.

Fast forward a few years: We now own several of the aforementioned companies.

Hey David, that's really inspiring. What do you think differentiated you from the rest of them when you first started?

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