your apples to their oranges

In building a business, creativity, inspiration, motivation by Jay Clouse

There isn’t much that’s more exciting than a new idea.

You have that initial excitement of, “Oh wow, this could really work!”

But then you start doing research into other people who are doing similar work. First, you find maybe one or two people “but they aren’t doing it this way, so I’m still fine.”

Then as you dig deeper, you start to be really impressed and intimidating with how far along those people are. You start to get into your own head, seeing all their bells and whistles, the animations on their homepage, their number of Instagram followers…

Soon, you aren’t so sure about this idea at all. How could you compete with that? What’s the point of even starting?

You will almost always be a little later to the game than someone else. And someone else will be later to the game than you.

With so much accessibility to find people doing work like ours, it’s easy to find those people who have already been shipping their ideas and products into the world. And it’s tempting to compare yourself to them right off the bat.

But the work you’re seeing isn’t their first work. By virtue of you even being able to find it, it’s almost certainly been around for a while. It’s not fair to yourself to compare your Version 1 to their Version 4.

It’s apples to oranges.

In the world of Aaron Burr from Hamilton, the world is wide enough for you both. Not to mention, you have to start somewhere — it’s not impossible for you to iterate faster and have a better Version 6 than them.

Sometimes, it’s possible to even dig deeper into the internet archives and find your influence or competitor’s first products. And when you do, it’s probably going to be more empowering than intimidating!


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