We have all been there - you get super excited about a project and start building an MVP only to discover three weeks later someone has already done it. And, usually, has done it quite well.
This happened to me while starting out on Bike Gear Database (BGDB). I convinced myself I had stumbled onto a unique value prop for the bike industry. I started building out the stack and MVP like a madman. About a month in, a friend told me about the wonderful site called 99spokes which was everything that I had in my head for BGDB, and more.
At work, I was learning how to assess the value of websites using various SEO tools. A search at Ahrefs showed me that 99spokes had ranked for almost 75,000 keywords and were generating about 64k organic visitors a month.
I was crushed. How do you compete against that sort of traction? I ended up stopping work on BGDB because of it.
A month or so later, I met a new friend named Alex, that had raised two companies from zero to acquisition. He understood BGDBs value. When I showed him 99spokes in Ahrefs he said, "this is a very good thing".
The moment he said it, my entire mind clicked! Of course, it was a good thing! This meant that the idea was validated and there was a business in it. Also, there was only one other company working on the problem. This got me very excited and I got back to work. I am super thankful for Alex helping me see that.
Now the question is - how do I scale to compete? Is there a possibility for us to even work together? Etc etc. Momentum is picking up and I am having a ton of fun making BGDB.
How about you? Have you ever let discovering a competitor stop you? Motivate you?