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What do you do when your "Great Idea" gets implemented by someone else?
5 points by Venktheman on Apr 30, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 7 comments
I am sure a lot of app-developers have been through this problem. You work your ass off on an idea for 6 months, and get the product almost ready to be shown off to investors and work on your value proposition and start working on your elevator pitch... And then, all of a sudden, you have an "FML" moment, when you see new app on the app-store, which uses the same idea as the one you had been working on (it may have a few differences, but it will core-value & working being similar to yours).<p>Now it makes me feel like an idiot on why I had not thought of this sooner (like 2 years back & be the one to introduce this idea first), and you kind of start losing motivation and focus and decide to work on a different idea. And Half-way across any new idea, I am pretty sure, another person would have already implemented. I might be a bit pessimistic with this post, but this is the third time that I had started working an idea and mid-way I see the idea already out there... and I don't plan on quitting ! I really want to launch the application and prove my value proposition to investors and pitch - but like I had explained before - its been already implemented ! My application (I strongly believe) has a better value proposition than the competitor, but it will take me at least 8 more months to get the product out. By that time, the competitor might also bring in newer ideas and grow further ...<p>What do you guys do when something like this happens to your application ? By now you all would know the "value of time", and how important it is that you work on something worth-while and innovative ! How do you guys cope up when a competitor emerges with a full-fledged product when you have been working your ass-off on the prototype ? Would you guys continue working on the product or start working on newer ideas (back to square 1) ?? Any suggestion or experiences on your part would definitely help me, and everyone else who faces the same problem !

You shouldn't worry about things you can't control. To a degree, ignorance is bliss. You can't know whether or not your competitor screws up in the future. You can't know whether you screw up in the future. You can just do your best. The goal is to stay focused and motivated. (Who would have thought). ;-)

As for personal experiences: I once received an e-mail from a guy who favored our blog software over Wordpress because he liked our style. Since you didn't copy anyone but have a genuine product, chances are that people like your style better.

Now that there is competition, your initial idea for an app has been validated by another player which means your six months of work probably weren't wasted on a product no one would be interested in. See the competitor as a good sign.

If your idea is a good one, copycats would have jumped on the bandwagon eventually. You might think your head start would have give you some advantages (and it might have), but in this fast moving world it's probably only a minor factor.

I hope this makes sense.

Thanks a lot. It makes sense now ! Next step would be to refine the product and look for an investor !

Keep working on it, but use their app too. See what it does and doesn't do that yours would have. Use it to continue to add features to yours that you would build into theirs to perfect it. Watch their reviews, see what people like and don't like about it and try to make those people happy if it aligns with your goals. Ignore the idea that down-the-line, their app will get better. I've noticed that a lot of the time, despite feedback, the developer(s) end up going in a direction that their users don't find value in anymore and start to look elsewhere.

I'm constantly downloading similar apps in bulk to compare/contrast, and I know I'm not alone. Put it out there and see what happens.

It takes a long time to build real value in a software product.

I wouldn't give up because someone else is working on what you are doing. Even if they have a similar product, you could target a different customer, or have a different business model.

Most apps don't have a winner-take-all approach. Try to figure out what you believe, and what differentiates your product.

There's a very simple way to avoid feeling bad about someone beating you to the punch- the fact you hadn't heard about it before you got started reflects badly on the incumbent firm's marketing skills (how many other people don't know about it but should?). That gives you a glimmer of hope.

The time you put in is a sunk cost & you can't get it back, so don't feel bad about it. You can either outcompete your competitor, or you can pivot into a new method on the same idea.

are you Tesla or Edison?

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