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Ask HN: Found someone building my SaaS idea, does that mean idea is validated?
4 points by laurencei 1409 days ago | hide | past | web | 11 comments | favorite
I'm about to start development on a new SaaS idea. The 'market' is not new, there are already some products out there - but they are crap.

I was planning on doing a landing page, and 'testing' the idea to confirm there is a need for a newer/better product.

I just found a competitor who is doing exactly what I'm planning on. They have a cool landing page, and an open beta.

Does this validate my idea? Should I just jump in and build the MVP product?

I am aware that it might be the blind leading the blind if they did not 'test' the idea themselves - but given the market already exists - I'm thinking it should be reasonably safe?


Is it an idea or something you truly believe in? Is this something that is limited based on when you live and being able to talk to your first clients? I had to move a thousand miles to get where i needed to be.

Can you get into the beta? If so check it out and see where you think they are lacking. Talk to customers before your MVP.. don't do what I did and sink several hundred hours into your MVP before finding out what truly matters to someone that would purchase your product.

Please also remember that just because they are showing a less feature complete or less crappy product compared to your vision doesn't mean that they aren't one commit away from meeting feature parity with you 3 months from now in your mvp .

If this post comes across as negative.. please don't think I'm down on your idea.. please try to consider things from all angles except UI and comparing features.

great advise - thanks

How do you know yet what your MVP needs to be? What makes your implementation unique?

You still need to do customer development. If you simply jump in following the leader, you will always be playing catch-up. Having a close relationship with your customers, gives you insight into where the market is heading.

"The 'market' is not new, there are already some products out there - but they are crap."

It doesn't matter if they are crap if there's no demand for the service.

"Does this validate my idea? Should I just jump in and build the MVP product?"

No, there are lots of failed to-do apps, does that mean u should build one too?

Everything is secondary if you have a good understanding of your market and the problems your potential customers face.

No. The idea is validated once you get enough paying customers. Good luck.

Yeah - I meant "validated" in terms of taking the project to the next level (i.e. turning the idea into a MVP), not "validated" in terms of guaranteed to bring in lots of cash.

I'd do a bit of work promoting your landing page and see if you get any interest.

If you think you can beat this competitor then go for it - or if you think the market is large enough to support both of you and some others.

The market should be large enough for both of us - but obviously time will tell...

Should be? Don't guess, figure it out for sure.

How much domain knowledge do you have in your problem space?

If none then you'd better align yourself with people who do - key 'early adopter' customers, partners, advisors.

Otherwise, you won't know what people want/need/desire.

It's really about the broader industry rather than your product idea.

Can you see yourself researching opportunities in an industry for a while, and not being particularly emotional about any specific product idea?

If yes, you can very quickly and cheaply test out any idea for a product in your given industry with PPC, and you can start an SEO blog using Wordpress (I suggest Hostmonster) to tie together your PPC data and analytics in a giant data-driven feedback loop. This research-driven marketing approach will enable you to test out any product idea, and not lose ground if one doesn't fly. More specifically, if you have PPC/SEO keyword and traffic data that's tied to conversions you can almost instantly switch to a different product idea and still maintain marketing momentum.

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