You ever get the feeling that every idea in the world has been thought of already?
It happens to me every day. My brain's always working on the next "big idea" for us to work on. Once in a while I get that killer idea that I know could be a huge success.
It happened again to me yesterday. I had an idea for a fun website. It would also make a great Facebook app. It stuck with me all day and I had sort of mapped out how the site would work in my head. I started thinking about names for the website and came up with the perfect name. The plain two-word version of that name was taken by someone doing something completely unrelated, so I changed it up into something more fun and typed it into my browser...
DAMMIT. There it was. My idea, all finished and running on the domain that I though of.
How many times has this happened to you? How do you react to this kick in the stomach? Do you drop the idea? I think most people probably do.
I was reminded today that just because a good idea has been done already, doesn't mean that you cannot do it better.
We all know about the TinyURL service, right? You've got a big long URL you want to share with someone, you put it through TinyURL and they give you a nice short url that redirects to your long one. What an awesome idea. It's been around forever. 62 million urls shortened. Why would anyone ever try to do the same thing?
That didn't stop URLtea from trying. They do exactly the same thing but put their own spin on it. They've got their own take on the exact same service. In their case, you can annotate a link with a simple plain-text description on the end. And the site is prettier. Simple right? But it's working, because I see URLtea urls around all the time now, especially on Twitter.
And just today I've spotted yet a third. PeaURL. Also prettier, and they've innovated even further. You can opt to get a readable url. So instead of gibberish, you get a url that is somewhat memorable. Again, simple, but well done. Maybe they'll grab a share of the market that TinyURL owns, but seems to be losing grasp of.
You've got a great idea that's been done before? Don't give up on it. Just do it better.