Need for Speed10.24.12
A friend of mine is working on a women's fashion startup -- around helping women sell items in their closet that they're no longer wearing (or just want to sell.) They've achieved quite a bit of great traction -- good team / backers -- and you can see their splash page here: http://www.shop-hers.com/
However, just today, TechCrunch announced the launch of another startup -- very similar in concept -- called Tradesy
There's a wonderful concept in the book "Where Good Ideas Come From" [link] called "the adjacent possible". My interpretation of it is that the world basically consumes information simultaneously -- which means that if you have a great idea, there probably are other people -- somewhere in the world -- who also had a similar idea. The author talks about Darwin's theory of evolution -- and how everyone thinks of that as not only a tremendous breakthrough, but also one that would not exist without Darwin himself. However, he discusses how other scientists / thinkers were working on something similar -- they were years away -- but they were working on it and getting there.
Moral of the story? If you have a good idea, work as fast as possible to get it out there.
This is no dig at the Shop Hers team (I'm sure they were well aware of Tradesy and this is still, really, just Day 1) -- but just a thought to all founders to stay hungry and paranoid. If you're working on a startup, assume others are too -- and worse, they might have more / better people, more / better money, and even things that you might not bring to the table (social proof, experience set, particular insights, etc.)
Build your team, raise your money -- make smart choices -- but move as quickly as you can (but no quicker.)