If you think you have an original idea, think again. There’s a very, very good chance it’s already being worked on. It might not be identical, but it’s likely very close. If no one else is already working on the idea you have, there’s a good chance it’s a bad one. Fundamentally, you should never assume you’re the only person working on something. In fact, assume (or just plain ole realize) the opposite.
In the short time that I’ve been involved with Year One Labs we’ve seen very clear patterns around people’s pitches. A lot of young tech entrepreneurs share the same interests. Certain trends get hot and everyone flocks in those directions. So it’s not surprising to see startup ideas in the same industries or tackling similar problems fairly frequently. But I’ll be even more specific than that…
On three occasions Year One Labs has been pitched the exact same idea. And it happened twice more on a different idea. There were slight nuances between the ideas, but they were so close to identical it was amazing.
The first time it happened I was surprised. The second time I was still surprised. It’s a bit surreal to hear nearly the identical pitch from different people. The third time it happened I wasn’t surprised anymore.
Everyone is working on the same thing.
What’s even more interesting is that seeing the same pitch multiple times from different entrepreneurs won’t stop Year One Labs from investing. We know there are lots of people working on similar things all over; if it’s happening in Montreal, imagine everywhere else?
The startup world moves insanely fast. And it’s accelerating. Everyone is working on the same thing, and everyone believes it’s huge and they’ll win. If you don’t realize this quickly enough you’ll be left behind.
Ideas are just the starting point — everything that comes after the lightbulb goes off in your head is really what matters. Strategy. Execution. Learning. Unfair advantage. Team. Acceleration. Agility. Startups don’t win because they have the best ideas when they start. Everyone else has the same ideas already anyway…