Staying Stealth

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  • Martin Shen wrote: 07/23/2011 1:58 AM

    Another time to stay stealth is, as you mentioned, if you have few competitors... and want to keep it that way. I think that this too is a rare case as there tends to always be some form of competitor in the consumer space. In the consumer space, i think it's best to push forward and iterate continually to create a better product faster. Unless the funding is announced, a clone is unlikely to appear until the company crosses 100,000 users. By then, they have had enough user interaction and domain expertise to move faster than would-be clones. Furthermore, follow those clones and see what they are doing wrong/right.

    I believe someone will always copy you... keeping stealth is a temporary solution... I think you ultimately just have to learn from the copy cats and be ready to move quicker.

    • David Shen wrote: 07/23/2011 7:33 PM

      Any startup needs to get noticed at some point by their customers. However, you have to avoid those places where other potential entrepreneurs tread. I think that major media outlets can be OK, since there is way too much news for people to read all of it. But getting talked about in the usual places like Techcrunch or SAI or even in Forbes can be dangerous as they are popular hunting grounds for entrepreneurs.

      But you make an interesting point - given today's world where so many, maybe too many, people want to become entrepreneurs, then launching a consumer product can be extremely tough without some other unassailable competitve advantage. Going out there with a copy-able product is only going to get you copied and you'll find yourself slicing up the population into ever smaller chunks until nobody can win big. However, if you can go out there by staying stealth to the popular entrepreneur media outlets and finding a way to get users without using popular media would be unique indeed. Then staying stealth as long as you can until you surprise the world by going public with already millions of users - that could give you an unassailable lead against any competitors.


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