In the run up to SXSW 2012 when the insider media had fabricated Highlight as heir to the throne and some of our more fair weather investors had written us off, my confidence was against the ropes. We reordered our roadmap to rush out comparable features but were now BEHIND. I put on my best brave face but inside my gut was rotting away. I still remember thinking on the flight to Austin “fck, we had it, and now we are going to lose it.”
Oops! Highlight never went anywhere but we definitely wasted a ton of energy and sleep “responding to the threat” when we should have been figuring out how to make our own business work.
Be steady at the wheel. The only way one startup can kill another startup is by getting into the other’s head and leading them off a cliff.
If you don’t believe me, try this proof. Are your competitors releasing a bunch of the same features that you have on your roadmap? Yes? Do you know what consumers want*? No? Great, then neither do your competitors. Get back to figuring out what users want!
*Hint: If you did, you would already have traction.
Hat tip Failcon.