Today is a big day for us, we just launched our wiki product Papyrs on ProductHunt (https://www.producthunt.com/posts/papyrs)! We had been coding pretty much non-stop on the product for the past two years. We spent countless days on placing every pixel in every dialog, crunching out every millisecond of response time (you know how it goes when you get obsessed with getting it right :), but we are happy with how it turned out!
There was just this one thing that happened while we were building... Another player launched in the space, and they had a pretty similar vision. This happens all the time of course. In fact there were a bunch of well-established players in our space (Confluence/Sharepoint, in case you know those) but Papyrs is different enough that we didn't have to worry about getting directly compared to them.
So, back to today. Polished all the PH text and images, double-checked it all. Clicked "Launch!". Scary, what are people gonna say! Wow the first comment!! And .. yep, it's about.. how does Papyrs compare to Notion... 😅
Are we worried about this? No, not at all. When we see competitors get a ton of press and traction that only proves that the market for products like ours is growing. And any successful product is bound to get real competition eventually! In fact, the very first version of Papyrs is older than Notion, but now it looks like we're the new kid on the block :)
So how does anybody compete with a bigger and well-funded competitor? Well, first of all, you need to have your own vision and ideas of course. But we've been working on this problem for a long time, and we're sure there are teams and companies out there who prefer our approach. We would never consider cloning a popular product simply from a motivational standpoint, but it's also very hard to win when building a clone because that you never fully understand why products are designed the way they are. You end up copying flaws and mistakes of your competitors, and that's a huge mistake.
They always tell you to not spend too much time worrying about competitors, and just design what you think your customers want, and stick to your own vision. So that's exactly what we did, and to be honest we had never heard of Notion (this was years ago!) until the new Papyrs was half-way done. Some early users gave us "ah so like Notion?" comments. A fellow indie maker even asked why we would move in such a space with such a big player. But here's the interesting part: they weren't even there yet when we started. So by that logic Notion would also never have launched because we were already there! (our v1 with a similar vision was already public at that time). That would have been the wrong move obviously as it became a well-received product! Everyone is unknown and starts from 0 at the beginning, including those products that are big and established today.
Besides, having a well-established competitors makes it easier for people who are new to the market to understand what the space is all about. Innovation is great but if you innovate too much you'll just confuse your users. At least now we don't have to worry people won't understand what Papyrs is for.
So we never felt discouraged by seeing our competitors gain traction, as we knew we would still attract users who prefer our approach. We'll continue to focus on our long-term vision, and we won't let any new (or existing) competitors stop us. The world is such a big place after all. The way we see it the most important thing is that you have people who love your product, the rest will just fall into place.
Let me know your stories :)!