Don't reinvent the wheel!

The most common idea startups proudly write me is this:

“My idea is absolutely unique! It has never been implemented! And I have 0 competitors!”

While this might sound like a unique opportunity to some, it’s usually the opposite to me and here’s why.

Back in 2000, Blockbuster was in its prime.

CEO John Antioco had built the largest media rental company, on track to be worth nearly $5B.

They had over 9,000 rental stores in the US alone. And over 80,000 employees worldwide!

By all metrics, Blockbuster had won the game.

They had movies, video games, music. And they had LOTS of it.

They would go on to start a billion-dollar marketing campaign to rent movies online in 2007 — gaining nearly 2 million customers a year — but this was too little innovation.

And too late.

Because — as is probably of no surprise to you — they already had some powerful competition.

Back in 2000, Reed Hastings — CEO of Netflix — approached Blockbuster.

They’d taken Blockbuster’s movie model that had started in the 1980s, and innovated upon it.

Making it exclusively an online service, that would mail physical video cassettes to your home.

But they were fresh out of the dot-com crash. With almost no runway. And no real prospects.

So when they asked Antioco to buy them out for $50M, he thought it was a joke!

Who’s laughing now, Antioco?

Now, I think everyone’s heard about that story.

But it’s always told from the, “Look what a big mistake Blockbuster made” perspective.

Today, I’d like to focus on what a genius move Netflix made.

They realized that it’s wrong to build something that never existed.

If it doesn’t exist. It’s likely that nobody needs it.

They took something that was already there — movie rentals — and innovated.

They added the features of their generation — web 1.0 — and kept testing until something stuck.

  • Google was the Yahoo for improved instant searches
  • Facebook was the MySpace for college students
  • TikTok was the YouTube for people with short attention spans 😉
  • Apple was the IBM for creatives
  • Slack was the Messenger for work
  • Mastercard was the new American Express

They all added something.

But it wasn’t some ground-breaking totally new thing.

So remember, as you’re creating, don’t focus too much on originality — don’t try to invent something 100% new.

Stand on the shoulders of giants, see what you can add that they didn’t think of, and build something that is 10x better.

If you’re working on something — whether it’s in the idea stage or you’re almost ready to launch — check out Creator Club for a full A-Z course on how to run a successful product launch.

It’s based on years of experience by me and my community. And will have tons of creators, marketers, and entrepreneurs like you, discussing ideas and helping each other out along the way.

We’re opening the doors soon. And they’ll only be open for a few days this quarter.

So sign up now to not miss your shot.