Ideas and Validation July 27, 2020

Are you afraid of competition?

Leo Nagano @Leo

Why is competition good?

• It means there is a market, people already spending money
• We are forced to improve and have an USP (unique selling point)
• Competitors might enlarge the market

WeWorkRemotely and RemoteOK

  • Pieter Levels runs RemoteOK as a company of one
  • Low costs, high margin
  • Automated as much as possible
  • RemoteOK started aggregating remote jobs from other websites

remoteok

Gumroad and Buy Me a Coffee

  • Buy Me a Coffee started as a platform to earn from supporters
  • Now, Buy Me a Coffee’s users can sell ebooks, videos, books. This is where they compete with Gumroad

gumroad

Scott’s Cheap Flights and Jack’s Flight Club

  • Scott’s is focused on the US market
  • Jack’s decided to focus on UK
  • They compete in the same industry (flight tickets offers) but focusing on different location
    scotts

ConvertKit and Mailchimp

  • Fraction of Mailchimp’s traffic
  • $1.43mm MRR
    convertkit

Headspace and Calm

  • Little different in visits to each website
  • Space in the market for both apps

Headspace

How do you differentiate from your competitors? Are you happy to share who are your main competitors?


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  1. 4

    Great Content. Really like how you have used images, makes it very easy to consume the content.
    Competition means motivation 💪🏻
    Competition means product-market fit🚀
    Competition keeps you in check & helps constantly innovate💡

  2. 3

    Absolutely no need to be afraid of the competition. If you stand out and say hi in a proper way, all that is going to come out is a great partnership 😁

    In my example, I'm gonna mention our friend, @Akcium. I consider him a great friend and a tech consultant whatsoever 💪🏼🙋🏼‍♂️ We do have our laughs. 😂

    His product (https://pingr.io) and mine (https://hostedstatus.page) are somewhat direct competitors.

    Our first encounter: https://twitter.com/vponamariov/status/1273298479511715840 🤷‍♂️😂

    Since then we've been exchanging experience, coding and technical tips, architecture details and so on, you get the point.

    So, no - I am not afraid of my competitor 🙌🎈 I consider him as a great example.

    1. 4

      👏Very good example of how to be genuine with your competitors and make good friends. It might be a win-win situation as both will work to enlarge the market

    2. 3

      Heeey Nikoooola

      He has a great product! Though mine is a little bit better 🤣🤣 Just kidding :)

      1. 1

        I seriously considered to enter this domain and still thinking if that is a saturated market. Wonder what new and innovative features can I think of...

        1. 3

          Same here, in search of new features. But yeah, it is saturated. Though it has some positive side: you know people use it, no need for deep validation

          1. 1

            Exactly my thoughts. Just like in cars - everybody gets their favorite one. It's the features and l&f that sells it more or less 🤷‍♂️

        2. 2

          I can confirm it's a saturated market, likely because it's "fairly easy" to ~build~ get started, the technology being quite simple as its core. Of course the details aren't that simple, so it's not an easy path ;)

          @Akcium @stojkovic is there a "My SaaS is a server monitoring service" Slack I can join? :p

          1. 2

            !!! I wouldn't say it's easy. I spent more than 800 hours to build this, and I haven't finished yet.

            I'm really shocked, because at first it looked like "curl http://your-site.com", but gosh, there are so many problems I needed to solve and yet not solved =(

            1. 2

              Haha you're right, doing it right is clearly hard. What I meant is at its core it's basically some kind of recurring curl, as you said. Once you factor in features like multiple locations, more detailed performance data (it took me some time to get the time spent on DNS/TCP/TLS/etc for www.howfast.tech), security analysis, random network errors, etc, it becomes a giant mess indeed.

              I've spent quite some time on HowFast, and my primary focus was to learn and have fun (making money was only second), so let me know if there are problems I can help with :)

              I've edited my post to replace "build" by "get started".

              1. 4

                If you help me with this https://stackoverflow.com/questions/63140145/how-to-proxy-custom-domains-to-vuejs-app

                I'll send you a bunch of cookies, with a postcard written in French. J'ai etudie le Francais depuis quelques ans... like 10 years ago :D

                1. 1

                  If all other options are ruled-out you can consider Caddy server for status page hosting. Caddy support for custom domains is easy, its just setting a file path for each domain and uninterrupted reload(not restart).

              2. 1

                For my monitoring project I designed everything with server-less architecture including cron-jobs. Major problem is lambda expenses, for worst-case scenarios the total cost per user is going beyond $5 per user.

                The major advantage with Serverless is no need to worry about server maintenance and problems like which @Akcium is facing
                (hosting status pages with custom domain) are easy to solve.

          2. 1

            Check your Twitter 🦸‍♂️

      2. 1

        This comment was deleted 3 months ago.

  3. 2

    Absolutely not! Competition means there's a marketplace, an opportunity to define yourself in a niche, and a path to success! You should be more afraid of there being no competition. It's a pretty good hint that your idea may not be great, or even if it is, that you're going to have to put in a lot of work marketing it to people to even get them to understand that it's a good idea.

    For example, I'm putting the finishing touches on Nodewood, a Javascript SaaS boilerplate, but there are all _kinds) of boilerplates already on the market. Some in JavaScript, but others in Ruby, Java, Python - heck, in Python alone, there's the wonderful SaaS Pegasus, run by fellow Indiehacker @czue.

    Yeah, he's technically competition, but odds are pretty good that any specific founder will be looking for a boilerplate in a language specific to them, so if they're a Pythonista, they'll head over Cory's way. Whereas if they're interested in JavaScript, then I have a better shot at them.

    Point is, a good niche in a market with a lot of competitors is a huge advantage, and I'd far prefer that over completely owning a market with zero competitors.

    1. 2

      Amen. (and thanks for the shout out @DanHulton!)

  4. 1

    Great examples

    I am however a non-believer
    My point is: there's no competetiton

    Yes, there are similar products

    But there's always a different approach to the audience, different marketing which resonates with customers or not

    So people tend to opt for the whole approach (product+marketing) rather than a single product

    It's impossible to create one and the same "approach"
    Yes, the products might be similar
    But the approach is something that is impossible to copy

  5. 1

    On one hand yes, but on the other not at all.

    Apart from the usual things that get mentioned in this thread...

    Things are getting very political sometimes (not to my liking), but it gives new opportunities as well.

    A software publicly backing organizations and politicians you cannot swallow?

    Find the competition that is more neutral!

    Even competing with Google gives you 2 advantages immediately:

    1, Google is well known for sunsetting products
    2, Many don't like Google and it's privacy-invasion

    So there you have it.

  6. 1

    Not at all! Companies can't be everything to everyone. That's where your opportunities lie. It'll all be up to you to find those opportunities, though!

  7. 1

    Absolutely not! My competitors are Gumroad and Payhip and honestly Gumroad's CEO donated $1,000 to my platform to get the ball rolling for development.

    Jemsplash.com allows creators to sell their digital products such as ebooks, courses, memberships, etc.

    What makes us different?

    • You can sell audio books, and audio courses
    • We have a KPI tool to track your MRR (monthly recurring revenue) for your digital products
    • Instead of 8% transaction fee on a free tier, we only charge 5% in comparison to Gumroad
    • We have a "Start A Thread" feature that will allow Creators to schedule a thread of tweets which is proven to help produce more sales
  8. 1

    nope....you work together and mould the market

  9. 1

    Competition necessitates differentiation and innovation. It validates the fact there's a market for your service, and gives you a reason to build something better.

    (ps. Jack's Flight Club is inspiring - they are making STACKS of money with a relatively small team.)

  10. 1

    US market full of opportunities

  11. 1

    Competition means one thing—comparison 🏆 Founders usually are afraid of competition because it means making comparisons and choices.

    1. 1

      It's never a good feeling when we lose customers to competitors, but the market is normally big enough to get another ones.

      If we differentiate somehow, this is another way to attract customers.

      Imagine Italian restaurants. There are loads of them in any city. They create special dishes, try to offer a more personal experience...anyway, each restaurant will find it's unique way, as the competition will exist!

  12. 1

    I love this! Thank for posting.

    1. 1

      Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it!

  13. 1

    Thanks, Leo! The content is super useful and motivational.

    I clearly understand that competitors are the sign of a validated market and the opportunity to make a niche product. But every time I see a big competitor of my "another great idea" I get fear, despair, and indifference.

    1. 1

      Yes, I know this feeling. But if you have a different approach to solve the same problem, it may help

      Have you read this great post from Courtland?
      How to brainstorm great business ideas

      1. 1

        Thanks for the link, will read the post later

  14. 1

    When I launch, my main competitor will be Shopify, Wix and Squarespace. I am currently brainstorming lots of USP ideas, since I am going to need them

    1. 2

      Yes, absolutely. Going niche is a strong USP imho

  15. 1

    This comment was deleted 18 days ago.

    1. 1

      Hi Henry, what are you doing to differentiate from your competitors?

      1. 1

        This comment was deleted 18 days ago.

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