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Ognjen Regoje

I make things that run on the web (mostly).
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Your customers dictate your competitors

Whenever I experiment with products from early stage startups I always try to leave detailed feedback and try to be helpful. Feedback is generally well received, which is nice.

One particular response, however, kind of irks me. It’s just not the type of response that’s productive and just sounds kind of like a copout to be honest.

We aren’t looking to compete with Uber/ABC/XYZ.

You might not be looking to compete with Uber, but I’m telling you that rather than use your service I’ll be using Uber. It doesn’t really matter what you imagined who you’d be competing against. I’m telling you I’m using Uber and not you. You’re losing business because Uber is better in some way.

Don’t defend yourself but try to understand in what way.


Excel/ABC/XYZ isn’t really a replacement.

You might think that Excel isn’t a replacement but it really is for so many things. And it’s more powerful and flexible than your product will ever be. So, unless your product is at least 10x more convenient to balance out the robustness of Excel, you’ll lose.

Don’t make excuses but understand how your customers are using the alternative and how you should differentiate yourself better.


We aren’t really meant for industry.

You might not have imagined that you’re meant for my industry but I’m telling you how I’m using your product. Therefore that’s where you need to compete. If the signal is strong enough you should also consider pivoting and specializing.

That’s how Supplybunny got started. We didn’t really know what industry it’d be but we got a strong signal from HORECA so that’s what we focused on.

I think this sort of thinking isn’t the best because it’s the customers that dictate your competitors. The customers are telling you what they’re using instead, and that’s your competitor.

And Excel seriously is a very real and very robust alternative to so many tools.