I stumbled across this great post that explains how this VC tried to discourage an entrepreneur from starting a party planning portal/website - "been there, done that", being the reason. The entrepreneur ignored the advice and has created a hot little company called mypunchbowl.
I must confess that I have historically been a "big idea" addict - gravitating towards revolutionary new concepts, as opposed to evolutionary improvements.
However, there are a hell of a lot of advantages for entering into existing product categories:
1. buyers have budgets
2. you can learn from the mistakes of the early entrants and do better
3. it is a lot easier to differentiate than to invent from scratch
Here are a list of examples big and small:
Google is the easiest, most obvious example. Me and everyone else were using Yahoo! before Google came along with better, faster.
The Ladders is a great jobsite that uses a model that is the inverse of Monster, Careerbuilder and HotJobs. Candidates pay and job postings are free.
Webex OWNS the web presentation market, but that did not stop gotomeeting, who has built a nice business, with the 80/20 model (80% of the functionality for 20% of the price).
Why on earth would anyone want to enter the pizza market with Dominos', Pizza Hut and Little Caesars owning the market? Papa Johns did and has consistently gained market share over the past 10 years while the others have lost share.
blah blah blah . . there are so many examples, it is ridiculous.
Don't hestiate from entering a crowded market because it's crowded. Just sort out how you will differentiate and take the business away from the other guys.
I am continually frustrated with annoying inefficiencies in using email, the web and office applications. So, I have really come to like a few widgets that I have integrated into my day to day use.
Here they are:
Adding new contacts to outlook is a pain, unless people send around their VCards, which most people don't. What if you could highlight someone's contact information in the footer of an email, or on a website, hit Ctrl-C-C and boom . . it's in your outlook. I love Anagram. $30.
Cutting out pictures, text, logo's, etc., from websites and documents is limited to right click and saving a component (which is filled with issues) or hitting print screen, which gives you the whole screen in view . . which is typically more or less than you really want. I love SnagIt - it let's you cut out large scrolling windows that exceed the open screen size as well as objects that don't save/copy well. $40.
I have a password protected word document that houses all my passwords. How annyoning - even when you have a standard password, sometimes you have to put one in that is longer, or requires a mix of numbers and letters, etc., a real pain. I just started using roboform. I never thought I would find a good password management tool, but this one rocks. Check out recent review in Computerworld. $30 for the download tool and $40 for the portable USB stick.
I like how clean .pdf files are, but I have no need for a publishing tool. I love PDFCreator. It lets me print to a .pdf file from any application - as though it were a printer. It's opensource and FREE.