This article was published on December 7, 2010

The Polka Dot Car


The Polka Dot Car
Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
Story by

Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

Founder & board member, TNW

Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and pr.co. Boris is very active on Twitter as @Boris and Instagram: @Boris.

Let’s say you have a great idea for a new car: nobody has done it before and you are sure there is a market for it: a pink car with yellow polka dots!

It is new and innovative: “nobody is doing this! We have no competitors!”

Well yeah. Very hard to argue with that.

Unfortunately being all new and innovative and having no competitors isn’t necessarily a guarantee for success. In fact, if nobody it doing it chances are it is probably a good indication that your idea sucks.

But even if the idea is not all that bad and you manage to sell quite a few cars with polka dot prints (“we don’t have to stop at pink and yellow! The possibilities are endless!! This is so scalable!!!”) how hard would it be for people already selling cars to simply start doing the same?

A new and differentiating paint job is just not enough to compete with car makers with hundreds of years of experience.

The same applies to any start-up of course. Don’t just find out if your idea is new, but also how hard it would be for other people to enter your business.

One tip: if you need an NDA to protect your idea that simply means it is very easy to steal. Not a good sign.