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What is acceptable behaviour in this situation?

Hey all,

There is already a product, it is liked by the community and used by a lot of people. And the guy who made it is a really nice guy.

But you had this idea as well, long ago. You just never did anything about it, but you think you can do it much better. At least parts of it.

And your business model is quite different, so if for example this person is focused on subscriptions, you would be selling ads. 

Yet, for nearly 6-7 years you've decided to not do anything about this idea because you don't want to end up in a fight with another indie hacker.

Forget and go, or explain your thoughts and give it a try?


I would make the title of the question relate more to the content, to help people know what you are asking before they click on it ;)

Jokes aside, I understand how you feel, and I have felt like that before. I'm actively working on changing my view on these things. In most situations, you don't have to explain yourself or owe somebody an explanation. Just do it.
Many businesses were not first, but took an idea and made it better. This is also what drives innovation.
And if the niche is validated with the existing project, it doesn't mean each customer of your own project with a different approach would switch over from the other project.

If you feel weird about it, you can always reach out to the maker in question, tell them about it, ask for feedback, maybe even collaborate or exchange ideas and motivate each other.

Take my opinion with a lot of salt, as I am pretty new to the indiehacker space myself.

If it was me: I'd just build it. No one has a monopoly on ideas.

Besides you have some key differentiators. It's not like a one-to-one clone.

If you want to remain on friendly terms with the indie hacker, maybe drop a DM to share your thoughts and plans, and shake hands on the friendly competition ahead? ūüėä

Way more concise than my blurb. Maybe I can learn from it :)

I second this. There are clear differentiators, and besides, the business world is designed on people seeing something in the wild and making tweaks.

I love the idea about reaching out to the creator to just start a conversation. Not to explain yourself (because you have nothing to explain or apologize for) but use it as an opportunity to expand your network and potentially collaborate.

@thecatstickler Makes sense - I guess I was thinking like this but sometimes it is nice to see if other people reason the same way. Better safe than sorry :)

@jasonleow lol, sorry, I seem to accidentally have deleted that sub-thread.

I'll post about the project in this thread as soon as I start building. But all my products are free/ad-based, so you'll be able to access it. That is the point.

There's no wrong or right answer here. I guess do what you'd like someone else to do if the roles were reversed.

For me personally, if it's someone I know, I'd reach out and see how they feel about it. I have a 101 ideas I could be working on, so I wouldn't want to potentially hurt a relationship by working on something that someone else might feel is too similar. Especially if it's a valued relationship.

But at the same time I don't want to artificially limit myself, if it's a natural extension of a business I'm already doing.

True, I especially like the approach of reversing the perspective to inform your decision. It is almost always valuable in all aspects of life.

I don't know the person - he seems nice though and we only had friendly exchanges on twitter etc.

I guess at this point, to avoid speculation, I'll tell here. It is @levelsio - and the startup is NomadList.

The idea I got isn't focusing on nomads at all, so in a way it isn't even close enough to be a competitor...but then you never know how you might pivot, etc.

@jasonleow - FYI.

I'll reach out to Pieter I guess.