Why You Don’t Need a Good Idea to Have a Successful Web Startup

Having a successful web startup is a lot like hitting the jackpot, and a good idea is not really necessary to hitting it big, says Stowe Boyd, a consultant on social web applications.

“A lot of people start web companies and don’t even have a good idea,” Boyd tells me, winking. “I think having an innovative idea is a good start, a necessary precondition for success.”

Probably the most important factor in a startup’s success is what the competitors are up to, Boyd explains. If someone else happens to launch a similar product and steals the spotlight a couple weeks before yours goes live, it could be the end of your web service.

“There is a lot of luck involved,” Boyd says. “How would you know that six other people are about to launch a competitor to your good idea?”

The world does not need yet another social bookmarketing app…”

Above all, Boyd advises web entrepreneur hopefuls to aim for something totally different than what’s on the Net today.

“The world does not need yet another social bookmarketing app, another social event site (I just was invited to Involver, for example), or another screen sharing tool (see Yugma),” he says.

Boyd posted a transcript of our interview on his blog. Be sure to check out his site, /Message, which was redesigned this weekend. He often posts great ideas, like photos support for Google Docs.

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