Step 5 Check the Concept against Your Own Experience

Right at the start, you have to face up to common-sense questions and have some idea of what is involved. Don't concern yourself too much about whether your idea is unique. Few good ideas are. They just have to be unique enough.

Pioneers who have "First Mover Advantage" are often able to charge a premium, however, this notional bonus is almost always swallowed by their promotional and educational costs.

Note Software is rarely copied by stealing the source code; that's illegal and too easy to spot. What competitors do is look at your finished product and re-create something that is functionally similar and improve upon it.

Some ideas are brilliant but the development is staggering. The Internet would never be the universal IT backbone it is but for U.S. government funding of the ARPANET project since 1967. Not only did Uncle Sam give the developers money, he indirectly taught hundreds of thousands of people how to use it and gave major corporations and universities the incentive to adopt it as well. Bear thoughts like these in mind as you subject your concept to private and personal scrutiny:

♦ Has anyone had the idea in this form before you? Quickly check the Internet.

♦ Is it too far ahead of its market? Are you inventing the pneumatic tire before the automobile?

♦ Is it too easy for competitors to learn from? Get some kind of ballpark on secure coding and patents.

♦ Is it too difficult to explain? Take an educated guess.

♦ Can it be distributed efficiently? Could it be sold off the Web?

♦ Is the cost of development likely to be in any way unusual? Is the project likely to be small, medium, or large?

♦ How long could the coding take? Extrapolate from projects of similar scale.

♦ Have you got a moneymaking proposition? Is there a prima facie case for profit?

If the answers are satisfactory, give yourself a green light. If they are not, it isn't all doom and disaster. You just have to do a little more thinking. Go back a stage or two and consider how you can transform a limitation into a decided advantage.

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