Competition is like a mountain range.

Look at it from a distance, and the silhouette looks threatening and imposing.

Look at it from up close, and you’ll see intricate details, unique and different landscapes, never what you thought it would be from a distance.
You'll find that what looked scary at a distance is something else entirely when looked at closely.

That service you thought would be your direct competitor? Their feature-set is tailed to larger B2B customers while you're building for freelancers and small businesses.
At the same time, what looked like "just another small hill" turns out to be a potential source of trouble — maybe not today, but in a few years' time.

Good thing you started looking at it early.
The important thing is to focus on your own journey. Consider the competitive landscape to be an important part of the adventure, but not the main character. You need to keep an eye on it from time to time, but your own path is much more important.
For my own SaaS @permanentlinkhq, this is very important. I have a LOT of competition: link shorteners, link branding tools, and many marketing suites.

But I don't look at them too often. I am building the perfect tool for writers who hate link rot. Those are the people I serve.
And they aren't being served (well) by my competitors. I'll keep an eye on them, but my focus is on my customers.

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More from @arvidkahl

22 Sep 20
Google just slapped every Chrome Extension author in the face by removing payments while making it impossible to migrate existing customers without involving them (which you can't, as Google doesn't give you the email address).

This is platform risk.…
If you have built a bootstrapped or a lifestyle business on the Chrome Extension store and have used their payments API, you now have to scramble to integrate an alternative provider and hope that you can find a way to reach your users so they can continue their subscription.
This will cause churn, complaints, confusion, and ultimately so much work that some developers will rather scrap their projects than go through the motions.

This is a corporate decision that is hostile to small developers.
Read 5 tweets
24 May 20
There's an interesting Ask HN by someone looking for side project ideas.

My advice, abbreviated: The best products happen at the intersection of an existing niche you are a part of already and a technology that has not yet been adopted in that niche.…
I've found one approach work very well with my mentees:

1. Figure out which "special interest groups" you are part of beyond software engineering. That can be "aquarium owner", "coffee lover", "morning person", "diligent grandson" — the less technical, the better
2. Among these "niches", find the ones that could benefit from a transfer of technology, like "teachers who work from home" (education niche) + "automated submission and pre-grading of homework" could work (digital document collection and rule-based checking logic) …
Read 6 tweets
11 Sep 19
Stripe is trying to disrupt private equity.

They have your revenue metrics. They have your customer demographics and risk factors. They know about every charge, your churn and retention. They have the ultimate cohort benchmarking data set.

A thread...
With Stripe Capital, they invest. They see how well investing any amount of money translates into growth. That way, they can figure out the future growth potential of any business they serve. By just pumping money into it.
With the Stripe Corporate Card, they have all your expenses. That allows them to extrapolate usage levels of all your services. They know down to the dollar how much it costs to run your business. They know your exact margins.
Read 5 tweets

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