Posted by: OurKudos | June 18, 2011

What do you do when you’ve been ‘scooped’?

Photo Credit: Steve Hodgson

Twice this past month, I’ve found sites that are very similar to what we’re currently developing – eerily so. It’s like we were all working from the same play-book. Each time, my heart dropped, but we’re continuing on. Why?

The first thing we did, once I got over the disappointment of discovering that our ideas aren’t unique, was to look more closely at what they had done. Whether they failed or are succeeding, I ask “why?” I look at them like free market research experiments. It’s much easier to look at someone else’s product and critique it honestly than it is to do so with your own creation. So we turn them inside and out, looking at user feedback and comments. What do people like or dislike? How could it be better? Do we like the product? Would we use it ourselves?

At the same time, I have to ask: “is this like another pizza shop in the same spot as the last one that failed?” Let me explain. I live in an area filled with pizza joints. A good number of them fail, only to be replaced by a basically identical restaurant. Don’t the new owners realize that if you do the same thing, you’re going to get the same results? So we look at our product and compare it to the others. Are we doing anything significantly better? Are we just travelling down the same, worn, dead-end road?

What did they do wrong? Why hasn’t their product caught on? Was it an execution problem or is it just an idea that doesn’t resonate with people?

So far, we think our product will have better execution, marketing and certain “secret sauce” features that will allow it to succeed where others have failed. However, in the meantime, we’re going to keep learning from these free experiments that others are running for us.


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