All good ideas have competition

Business,Products by on January 30, 2007 at 8:01 pm

Even bad ones. I can’t tell you how many times I heard an entrepreneur claim that his competitive advantage was ‘being first to market’ or ‘a unique value proposition’ (and I’m not even a VC). If the idea is good, there are already other people working on it.

While looking at the local space awhile back, we realized that focus (geographic and category) played an important role in a site’s ability to gain critical mass. We loved sites such as DoctorOoogle, Citimove, Menupages and CampusFood which had all created profitable niches in their respective markets. Citimove was so dominant in NYC that the founders had received death threats from poorly reviewed movers.

With the help of external resources (Bob Glazer, Jason Henrichs and Fresh Tilled Soil), we briefly explored creating a few vertically focused local sites that leveraged a common architecture, but ultimately decided this was too fracturing of our limited resources.

Regardless, it is fun (and reassuring) to see ideas that we had considered become real companies and sites. A few of my favorites:

  • MyCurrency (coverage at VentureBeat and Techcrunch). A community pricing system for estimating real estate values. Our version was called PriceThisPlace, and we actually had a demo version of the site built, but never took it live. I love this idea and hope it succeeds. A long shot, with huge upside.
  • Unthirsty, CheaperDrinker, BeerHunter, ThriftyHipster, MappyHour, DrinkGuru, etc… Google Maps mashup with Happy Hour information. Our version was HappyHourPages. We got as far as html mockups. Thank god this was never launched - as it turns out, good ideas coupled with alcohol and low barriers to entry means you have too much of a good thing.
  • NormalRoom. Photos of real rooms. Ours was more focused on remodels - engaging the voyeuristic tendencies of neighbors that desire to see the work of architects on their neighbor’s homes. We never really had a name, but we did get to html mockups.

Every good idea has competition. Never assume that you’re alone in a market. As Seth Godin points out the execution is everything:

99% of the time, in my experience, the hard part about creativity isn’t coming up with something no one has ever thought of before. The hard part is actually executing the thing you’ve thought of.
You’ve got out execute.


  1. Alex — January 31, 2007 @ 10:37 am

    I couldn’t agree more.

  2. […] doesn’t sound incredibly complicated, and the proof is always in the execution Content Aggregation In a world where as information is going to be free, why not find a way to […]

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