Launching a startup or website takes time. It takes time to get ideas and thoughts organized, to develop them into something usable, and to put them on paper – or in this case, on the web. One thing I’ve learned from developing websites however is that even if you have the greatest idea in the world, launching a week later than the competition means your website will struggle from the start to gain traction.
Take Manteresting for example.
Manteresting launched February 16 2012. Development for the site began in late 2011 and got heavily underway in November/December. There was nothing else on the market like Manteresting, aside from Pinterest of course, but we were targeting men which was new. Almost exactly one month before we officially launched Manteresting, we spotted this article on Mashable: Mustaches Prevail on Gentlemint, the Pinterest Site for ‘Manly Men’
Crap crap crap!
Our competitor, the only competitor for our market, just launched a month before we did. We are screwed.
We had to think on the bright side here which was that the guys behind Gentlemint built their site in 12 hours and it had little to no features. It was a flat site, no infinite scrolling, no ability to Like or even repin images – the site content wasn’t share-able, searchable or tagable, it was just a place for people to bookmark their own content.
Props to these guys for the fast development and launch of their site, but Manteresting will blow it out of the water when we launch.
Can you guess what happened?
We launched a month later than Gentlemint and it took us almost six months to overcome them in numbers (user accounts created and images pinned/nailed).
Even though Manteresting launched with almost a full feature set comparable to Pinterest, we were unable to take the spotlight from Gentlemint for some time and when we did, we were still playing catch-up to their search engine rankings. All because they launched before us.
After all, Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon…followed by that other guy.
“Comparing a startup company and a little blog on the Internet isn’t the same thing”, you might say.
Yes, that’s true. AntiNecktie is just a little blog (for now!) but there is much more to launching early than just the possibility of competition taking the spotlight.
Here’s another example I’m sure you will be familiar with.
How many of you have written an idea on a napkin at lunch?
I use Evernote to catalog my ideas instead of napkins. Right now, I have 698 ideas on record. These are domain names, startups, blog posts unwritten, each with a title and description – an outline of the idea, what it might be used for, initial research I’ve done into each ideas marketability. 698 ideas that I have yet to act upon.
Launching now means your idea launches with its original flame, your full focus behind it and you give it the best shot of succeeding. Over time, ideas get stale. You start to doubt yourself and your idea. Other ideas get in the way. That’s life, it keeps moving.
I bought the domain for this blog over a year ago. I knew exactly what I wanted to do here but I failed to act quick enough and my attention got pulled in other directions. If I had launched a year ago, who knows where this blog might have been.
This time around, I wasn’t waiting for the perfect moment to launch AntiNecktie. I needed to launch it yesterday! So I threw together something remotely presentable, covered some of the basics of launching a blog and just launched!
I suggest you do the same. The “fail early, fail often” mantra has been around for ages. Who knows where it began (I can’t find the origination, if you know, please let me know if the comments), but that is some excellent advice. You never know what idea will take off but if you don’t push your ideas out the door, none of them will.
In some races, there is no second place.
Tell me, ever experience the “oh crap, they stole my idea!” feeling? Tell me all about it in the comments and don’t forget to share this if you enjoyed reading!