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How important was being fast and first to make it with your idea when building your startup?

Once I was told that if you have an idea that nobody thought of before you, it probably doesn't make sense. I would like to hear your opinion on how important it is to be fast and the first to make it with your idea.

8 Replies

Scott McGregor
2
0
Scott McGregor Entrepreneur • Advisor
Advisor, co-founder, consultant and part time executive to Tech Start-ups. Based in Silicon Valley.
I think the evidence is you need to be fast enough that most of the market has yet to settle on anyone and that no clear runaway leader yet exists, but you don't need to be the absolute first. Google was like the 8th search engine (and certainly years behind Yahoo), the iPod was a late MP3 player, the iPad a decade after the first tablets, iPhone followed smart Phones by Palm and Blackberry. Marketing clout and better products can matter if many minds are not yet made up.
Philip S. Miller
1
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Philip S. Miller Entrepreneur
Founder at Hempies™ Paper Inc.
What has been is what will be,

and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.

Is there a thing of which it is said,
"See, this is new"?
It has been already
in the ages before us.

There is no remembrance of former things,
nor will there be any remembrance
of later things yet to be among those who come after.

So if you want something to stand out and do well I recommend putting a little Love and compassion and humor into it before releasing it into the wild, cause that's what might make it sustainable in the long run.
Roy A Ackerman, PhD, EA
0
0
Helping Clients Build Products, Processes, & Profits| Adjunct Chief Financial, Research, or Operations Officers|
It depends on the field of endeavor. Medical almost always needs first to be among its arsenal. Services hardly ever. Quality of service and customer needs are always critical.
Aaron Schmookler
0
0
Company Culture Engineer / Change Management Improv Trainer / Keynote Interactive Speaker
Scott is right on. I'd add getting it right. MySpace and Friendster beat Facebook to the punch, but didn't have the formula right. Especially with something you're asking people to interact with often, the UX has to be dialed in, or get there very quickly, or it won't catch on. And if it does get some traction, a better UX in a different offering can knock you out of the lead.

There are market leaders right now with certain SaaS offerings who are begging to be replaced by someone who provides the same benefits and capabilities, but with a better UX.
Dane H. Madsen
0
0
Dane H. Madsen Entrepreneur • Advisor
CEO, SVP Business Development | Domestic & International, Product Marketing | Open to new connections
First is not important and may be bad for you. Early is important because you do not want to be the 57th company offering an app that does essentially the same thing. Fast is not unimportant, but may be too costly as you try to outspend the others all vying for the same space. The companies that I see succeed are early and focused on the customer experience. I live in Seattle - and Amazon rules this city. They treat every day as "Day 1" knowing someone could kick them out, but they do not obsess about the competition, they obsess about the customer, knowing if they lose them, they are dead. So early, focused, and customer obsessive - you as the leader must be the customer's surrogate - is the key to succeeding. This has worked for me for decades.
Tom Caldwell
0
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Tom Caldwell Entrepreneur
Co-Founder and EVP at CyberFlow Analytics
Market timing is important, sometimes the early adopters are not ready to pay attention. For example, there was an adoption curve for cloud that had to come before an adoption curve for Cloud PaaS. Other times they need the startups who are first to take them through an education curve on a new paradigm. Like Dane said, you don't want to be 57th. Align your startup spending, rounds of funding and growth phases with market adoption timing. Not a perfect science but critical to survival.

Aji Abraham
0
0
Aji Abraham Advisor
Technology Expert for Startups
As a number of responders have pointed out already, being first is not necessary for succeeding in the market. I would argue, being first come with the customer education challenge. In niches where customers are not searching for a new solution, it might be better to be second or third with good enough solution. The first mover will educate the customer with their resources. The followers will be able to reduce the cost of customer acquisition, as they spend less money on customer education.

There are a number of case studies from business schools for first mover/fast follower advantages. Even though many of them are for mature industries, similar principles are applicable for startups.

Steve Owens
0
0
Steve Owens Entrepreneur • Advisor
Finish Line - A Better Way for Small Companies to Develop Products
Be "Best to Market"

There is little evidence that first to market has any value.

There is lots of evidence that Best to Market wins.
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