“When Someone Else is Faster Than You”
There was a question on Hacker News where a developer had to watch a competitor publish a similar App that he was currently working on. While this can be (and probably is) a very frustrating situation, it is by no means the end.
Developers shouldn't worry about things they can't control. To a degree, ignorance is bliss. Developers can't know whether or not a competitor screws up in the future. Developers can't know whether they themselves screw up in the future. They just can do their best and keep on working on their project. The goal is to stay focused and motivated. (Who would have thought).
We once received an e-mail from a guy who favored our blog software over Wordpress because he liked our style. If you didn't copy anyone but have a genuine product, chances are people like your style better.
Competition can be a positive sign. The initial idea for an app has been validated by another player which means the work a developer has put into the project wasn't wasted on a product no one would be interested in.
If an idea is a good one, copycats would have jumped on the bandwagon eventually. One might think that a head start would have some advantages, but in this fast moving world it's probably only a minor factor.
Watching what the competition does is okay but one shouldn't be overly concerned with them.