Recently I had received an email from a very passionate entrepreneur friend which had stated that he believed he was being Zuckerberged. By this he was obviously referring to Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and more specifically to how he had “taken” the idea from the Winklevoss twins (My friend in this situation). My response was quite insensitive given that he get’s excited quite easily so I assumed he was over reacting. We had what I found to be quite an interesting conversation which, like often I was just thinking out loud (via email/ iMessage) but I enjoyed some of the things I was saying and I think that they express the frustration that I have with “entrepreneurship”.
The concept that ideas hold value to me is very flawed. Of course all brilliant companies are founded off a brilliant idea but to believe that is the driving force behind it to success is absurd. Let’s look at Instagram for instance, they were not even close to being first to market. Hipstamatic was there long before with almost an identical process, so what made Instagram worth $1 billion when it was based off the same idea and came later? I don’t know the answer but I do not that it is not the core idea, it was how it was executed. Everyone has an uncle or father that has said “I thought of that years ago, we could have been rich!” while watching a commercial for some random household product. If the Winklevoss twins built Harvard U would it have been even close to as successful as Facebook is? I am going to go out on a limb and say no, not even close. The original idea of an exclusive social network doesn’t even exist anymore. It was the people behind Facebook that drove it towards where it is today.
My response to my friend when that email was sent was simply, “well then find another programmer and do it better.”(He didn’t like that). If you feel that the race is over because someone else knows your idea and is going to do it is showing how little you really feel that it is your idea. Something that is truly yours would not be nearly as successful without you, because you have likely thought about a lot more then an elevator pitch, you probably can’t even articulate what you have in your mind when it comes to the future of your idea. So if you have an idea that you think is worth it then DO IT! In this day and age you can start something a lot easier with some very affordable or free services. Write out a business plan, do a mockup of the website on photoshop, you don’t know how to use photoshop draw it on paper. Research who else is in the market, nail down the reason why you are different and chase after that. If you can’t answer what your product or service offers that others don’t, well then it definitely isn’t your idea and will be quite difficult to build. Don’t worry about first to market, worry about best in market. Personally I would love if a competitor built hype around a new category or idea to then bring the better realized product to the already exsisting and hungry market. Believe that you are the secret ingredient to your idea and GO!