Ideas and Validation June 30, 2020

😥 Worried about shipping my MVP. Will someone steal my idea?


I know this is overthinking it slightly but what do you all think?

I realise the importance of releasing early, getting feedback and iterating, but there is nothing like my product right now in Egypt. It won't be hard for people to make a knock-off version before I release the final product.

Would really value some advice.

  1. 26

    let's unpack though, what does it take to launch and be successful?

    • vision for a product and the FIRE that comes with it
    • execution
    • tenacity / determination
    • first sales
    • consistent sales
    • scale

    think someone can easily reproduce all these?

    1. 3

      I love this message. It truly captures the essence of what is required to be a successful founder.

    2. 3

      Woah, I've never really thought about it that way. That's given me a lot more confidence, thank you!

      1. 2

        my pleasure! go get them!

    3. 2

      You got it 100% right. You need to care a lot in order to do all those consistently. If you care that much, no one can beat you.

  2. 5

    I can promise you that your idea isn’t that special. And probably there are 10s or 100s of people are working towards your idea right now.

    1. 2

      this thought kinda scares me so fucking much :o

      1. 1

        I’d be more scared that someone’s getting a head start on

    2. 2

      Yes, that's something that I am trying to really internalise more and more. Appreciate the advice!

  3. 3

    Don't worry about that. Everyone tries to copy or repackage some else's idea, but creating a business around it it's harder than that. Tech skills are not that important either.

    It takes a lot of skills and some luck to make it profitable. Don't buy into all the entrepreneurs B.S about having a great idea to make it.

    Just do it because you enjoy it and create a product that you care and you will learn a lot from that.

    Keep it up!

  4. 3

    Why can they release a version so fast?

    1. 2

      I think you really got to the crooks of my problem with that question. After reading the reply by @watus, it's made me realise that I definitely overlooked how much work actually goes into the launch and release of a product. It's not that easy. Appreciate the input, such a great question. I need to learn how to ask myself better questions!

      1. 3

        Good stuff, I find questions help founders a lot more than answers :)

  5. 2

    Will an individual steal your idea?

    Maybe, but they’ll have to have the right level of drive, knowledge, and ability to execute that you do now.

    Will another business steal your idea? That’s much harder. You’re competing in that case with an overworked product manager who already has A list of priorities they can’t get through. They may be interested in evolving their product in your direction, but that usually happens once you’ve found your own success and validated the idea.

    Your advantage is speed.

    I work at GitLab, which is fully open source. Anyone can take our product and immediately start up a competitor. But what we have is market knowledge and engineering velocity. We deliver thousands of code changes every month, so without significant investment a competitor quickly falls out of date.

    1. 1

      Really insightful stuff! John Collins often talks about the importance of engineering velocity. Not only are you outcompeting the rest of the market, but also it's much more exciting for the employees. It's almost a quality of life improvement working in an environment where the pace and production output is faster. I'd much rather be at somewhere super fast-paced than at some slow IBM-type company.
      Thank you for the advice and that beautiful insight. Definitely food for thought.

  6. 2

    You can easily replicate fb, insta,twitter, etc... Technologically speaking it's not difficult. You need right time to market and all the points from @watus to succeed and a bit of big network and luck...

  7. 2

    If someone makes a knock-off version with a tighter feedback/iteration loop, they deserve to eat your lunch :)

    The idea is a seed. All those items that @watus listed are light and water and fertilizer.

    1. 1

      Hahahahaha well said! Love that analogy 👌🏽

  8. 2

    There are probably competitors that do the same thing with you and they are big. Only advantage we have, as startups, is our speed. Don't really think about it.

    Launch fast, learn fast, iterate fast.

  9. 2

    When you pitch an idea to a friend or family, what's the first thing they say about it? Chances are they are skeptical and will find all the problems about the idea. A stranger over the internet is probably thinking the same thing.

  10. 2

    The way you think of and love your idea and vision, I don't think other copycat will. Also it's okay if someone tries to copy your idea, that only means it has a market and you basically validated your idea.

  11. 2

    Ideas help nothing.
    It is all about the product.

    Simply do it better than the competition.

  12. 2

    I would be scared mostly about the thing that there is no direct on indirect competitors)

  13. 2

    If you're lucky someone will steal it. That means it's a strong idea!

  14. 2

    I can promise you 2 things: noone will know about your idea until you launch (when that happens, everyone will), and people will copy what you do.

    As it's been reiterated so many times, I'll just give 2 examples:

    Packaged water.
    Email clients.

    Remember, even if there are many other players in your field, the field could be big enough to contain many players. If anything, it just reinforces your idea.

    Keep going, no fear.

    1. 1

      So true, the market is definitely big enough for competitors. It only highlights the importance of being first. "In the startup olympics, first place gets a monopoly, second place gets a medal, and there is no third place." - Naval

      1. 2

        haha, interesting comparison. But also remember, this is a super marathon, not a sprint. It takes a long time figuring out the first place.

  15. 2

    There is a quote the moment the idea comes to your mind, there are at least 2 people in this world who already working on it. Most people will try to steal/copy your idea when you will be a good gaint in your market category.

    Before start building the MVP, I suggest validating the idea and try to reach out to the audience to whom you are building the product. Take their feedback and I'm pretty sure you did it.

    As lots of indie hackers talked here, It's pretty hard to steal the execution, marketing, positioning, culture, and most important your product experience.

    Wish you good luck :)


  16. 2

    At the end what counts is what you feel comfortable doing, If you feel nervous louching early, don't. But at least try to do as much sales or marketing beforehand to get a headstart. It's hard work and you'll have to do it sooner or later.

  17. 2

    Honestly when you launch your biggest problem is going to be people caring about your product.

    You should launch it as soon as you can and start sharing it. If people love it and want to copy it, good. You did it right!

    Good luck with it! Wish you all the best!

  18. 2

    Let me ask you this question.
    What is more likely?

    1. Your product doesn't turn into something people actually want
    2. Someone steals your idea and outperforms you

    According to the statistics it is 1. "No market demand for your product."

    Believe in yourself that you can outperform the others. Or don't even start. If you don't believe in yourself, you'll fail along the way.

    1. 1

      Thank you for the article, it was a compelling read. That's the motivation I need right now. Let's do this. Watch. This. Space.

  19. 2

    It is the execution and then the sales/marketing that are important, not the idea.

    1. 2

      Preach it man!!! Thank you for the advice, I often find that I need to be reminded of the key fundamentals like this. Great stuff!

  20. 2

    Hi @Pharaoh mostly everyone has the same ideas. If not you then someone else for sure has it. But the whole point is how you do execution. Idea is just not enough, if you don't execute it doesn't bring a thing. Me and my friend made a site about jokes and spent 6+ months developing it. There is no such thing on the market but guess what, we suck at execution so it just failed. Good luck!!!

    1. 1

      Interesting! Thank you for sharing that story, it really highlights the importance of execution and that is something I really need to think about more. Really appreciate the help.

  21. 1

    I thought like this in the past, and it killed me.

    The folks who said no idea is truly that original are right. Save for a tiny handful of PhD level research where you're literally inventing something.

    What I'd focus on instead is if you can get customers. If you're worried about people stealing your idea, don't market it - instead do direct 1:1 sales (even if you plan to digitize customer acquisition later). This will give you the dual benefit of knowing your earliest customers by name AND staying under the radar so no one will see you enough to steal your idea

    1. 2

      Woah, I've never really thought about that. Interesting idea! Appreciate the advice.

      1. 2

        No problem! I hope that helps.

        Unfortunately, if someone's going to steal it.. they are going to steal it. The best thing you can do is build a moat of having customers and then make it harder to find while you're still in the early stages by not spending money on advertising it widely. The latter will harm you a bit in terms of slowing your growth, but you could potentially double back on this by offering some referral commission / access to more features or a higher tier subscription to all early users to bring you new users.

        Good luck!!