Your idea is great. It’s wonderful. Yes, we know, it’s going to blow [Facebook, Trello, or existing services] out of the water. There’s always room for more competition, but on behalf of the press and on behalf of consumers everywhere, I beg of you to do a little Googling before you spend any time or money on your idea.
The truth is that your spouse and your parents are going to tell you that your brilliant idea is brilliant, but it’s not their job to check out the competition, it’s yours.
I can’t tell you how many startups pitch me on a daily basis that sound exactly like a competitor, and when you ask how they differ from said competitor, they have no idea that their competitor exists. Are you kidding me? All you had to do was Google the type of startup you’ve invested your life savings, house, and marriage into, and you’d know.
I write this in hopes that it will move the chains, but the truth is that tomorrow, another San Francisco ramen eater will email me, begging for coverage of their app, which has the exact same design and functionality as the other 800 task management apps or that you have the same stock logo as another social media dashboard, or that the pitch from another event management site has literally been copied and pasted.
Entrepreneurs, you may think that investors are designed to be jerks when they ask you about deliverables and competitors, but if you can’t do your basic due diligence, how can you be trusted to manage other simple business basics like a P&L statement or a term sheet? You may brush off your failed pitches to investors and the press, and imagine that they’re just cynical assholes that relish in criticizing you and making you cry, but the truth is that without knowing that your competitors exist before you ever start on your company, you’re an idiot.
Entrepreneurs, go make your dream happen, but before you put that foot on the gas pedal, for the love of God, please use a little common sense – just because Mama said you can be anything you want to be, doesn’t mean your regurgitated, unoriginal startup idea is going to make you the next Mark Zuckerberg.
The world needs more dreamers, it does, but when today’s dreamers can’t use Google, they immediately set themselves up for failure.