I can’t speak for Ian and his team as to their intentions but I do think it is actually wise to create your own “competing product”, to learn from both products and take advantage of the best features from both. It’s what Google is doing by creating two versions of everything and you might find this article about what they’re doing more interesting.
For Snappy, I find it to be a young hipster version of HelpSpot, it feels like Ian and his team wants to do something radical with the new interface and modern features and see what works. Sometimes, doing the same thing on an older product may do more harm than being helpful because if you have long term customers, they may not be able to transition rapidly and most may not have the patience to go through severe changes in a short period of time where a young startup might.
Basically with a separate new product, you can go crazy without affecting everything else. You can quickly Iterate to add new features and see whatever works out. If it works, it can go into the more mature product and if not, either find a better solution in the younger product or kill it.