Illusion of uniqueness is a business destroyer.

Some people make complex professional systems. Others build hard web applications or high-end industrial production systems. All of these sound entirely different.

To me, it has been alarming to notice that in the majority the discussions one mistaken belief stands out.

Our product and industry are so unique that jumping on board will take years.

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Photo by Levi Saunders on Unsplash

It is true that their industry and business might be unique, but their products are just software among other software. It is built on the same programming languages, interfaces, servers and clients as all the others.

The methods of software development are just the same as with thousands of other software companies. Even similar bugs repeat from one system to the other, regardless of the domain.

I do believe that industry-specific knowhow is useful. And yet we cannot forget that all the other people in other companies belong to normal software development teams too. They are the coders, testers, and managers who all have a common background. And in the end, they know their trade pretty damn well.

Understanding of this specific industry accumulates over the years, but at the same pace, people get railroaded and form social bubbles.

That’s when a belief in our uniqueness sets in.

Ultimately, that belief leads to fewer and fewer fresh ideas. Stuff gets done the same way as “we have always done before.” And suddenly someone runs us over.

Not long ago, taxi drivers around the world were taken by surprise. What other domains could you come up with, where this is happening?

I’ve got to say this just in case your domain harbors the same belief.

The uniqueness of your industry is an illusion. It typically emerges after sitting around the same sandbox for too long. It is worth going out for a breath of fresh air once in a while. To keep an open mind, to watch how the others do just the same things as you do.

Hire the new guy. Go to a conference. Arrange a meetup. Read. Train yourself.

That way your team might still have a chance when someone rises to disturb your domain.

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