Same, same… but different!?

Take a Look around

Doesn’t matter which situation in your life, there were moments you thought: “That could have been my idea”, “I wanna have that as well” or even “I’m gonna pretend as if it were mine.” For sure there were. Referring to my last post many founders face a lack of creativity, but circumvent this problem by stealing more or less the laurels of others. Copying is sometimes, if done properly and not in the frame of dissertations, an effective way to climb the economic Mount Everest. Can this also be said about internet phenomenons?

Make it simple

Internet phenomenons are copied more often than I have had beer in my life and the major reason is that the set up costs are equal to zero, or elsewise: You’ve got nothing to lose, but your dream “gaining millions” might come true! Sounds good.

In fact various advantages make copying palatable and attract imitators. Saving time is definitely another one. Why straining ones brain cells while researching, thinking, evaluating and finally finding a business idea if a finalized concept is ready to go? No reason for that.

I could follow up the matter and list a couple more advantages, but I guess that would bore you…

Objections?

However there are also (what a surprise) negative aspects about acquiring external ideas. In the first instance because you would be simply too late. If an idea works out the first time, it doesn’t mean that it works out again. And at this point I would like to throw in my prime example “The Million Dollar Homepage”. Even before the success of Alex Tew made its way to the news people tried to reproduce the website, but none of them (worldwide) could record a roughly similar success. Reminds me of Gorbachev:

“He who comes too late is punished by life.”

Get your own idea, than you’re the first!

If you are not the first you might get in trouble, thought about legality yet? Copy a business idea somebody has already registered a patent for and you are fu****! In this case not a good
idea at all. Facebook has sued StudiVz a few times, if you have a quick look on both social networks you will find out that the only difference is basically the color. The legal actions taken by Facebook failed, but its still a good example for possible consequences of copying. And maybe you have seen the movie “The Social Network”? Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook) was actually accused of having stolen the concept of Facebook as well.

No!

Coming to an end copying an Internet phenomenon is definitely not the reliable path to glory. According to statistics most of the attempts failed. Furthermore stealing an idea is in my opinion rather a crime, though it is in some cases legal. The honor belongs to the inventor, to the creative head and not to the lazy bastard. Check out my last article, I’ve listed 12 steps to foster creativity.

You wanna create something new that has some kind of a value? Don’t circumvent creativity!

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About domwoj

Mid-20 blogger from the heart of Germany, currently studying “International Business Management” in the capital, Berlin. Interested in business sciences and always tries to think globally. Pursuing goals like “finding the answer to the question: What is the meaning of life?” View all posts by domwoj

7 responses to “Same, same… but different!?

  • maxsc21

    Right, one has to use his own brains to create something interesting. I immediately thought of all the ebay-fakes when I read your article.. http://www.auvito.de/ or http://de.ebid.net/ for example.
    On the other hand there are always some “modified fakes” which are sometimes quite interesting.. in the ebay-case that would perhaps be http://www.my-hammer.de/ (manual services) or http://www.hammerdeal.de/ (backwards auction)
    these ones enrich the market in some way, and I think you also can refer this to other fields of internet inventions.
    all in all: good article, nice food for thought!

  • SparklinGesine

    hi domwoj,
    thanks for this homage to our own creativity!
    We may sometimes think, that others always have the better ideas or always come first and we have to admit that nowadays, it’s actually really difficult to invent or create something that hadn’t been there before. BUT, we can make it if we believe in our work.

    Besides, I like your comparison between StudiVZ and Facebook. In my opinion, StudiVZ copied a lot from other websites as well and that’s annoying. This “buschfunk”-thing, for example, is a mixture of the FB-status and Twitter. Check out this article: http://www.basicthinking.de/blog/2009/05/06/buschfunk-im-studivz-eine-twitter-kopie-die-keine-ist/
    You said, a good idea wouldn’t work a second time but in this case, it obviously does…

  • Marina Zaitseva

    Hey, rebel!

    Great topic to discuss!it made me to thick aboout one of my friend who is studing Information systems and does program. So, she told me that she is found an idea she was about to realize. She wants basically to create a program that counts tha days of the periods (oh, women…) and so she starts to work on that, until one day when she stopped and said: What if it exists already?

    so, later she found out one web site that can do that, but the web siteis available only for 3 countries. She was somehow disappointed, although she can use a different program for that…the idea exists already.

    So, there is nothing left to say and you are right, not only the stealing is a negative aspect, but simply being the second is already a crime….

    great topic though to think about…

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  • lenahaase

    hi domwoj,
    Very interesting topic!
    I think, you are completely right by saying that the glory belongs to the inventors! Coming up with new ideas is the hardest part about creating something new! Creativity is the word of the day!!However, over time, it becomes difficult to distinguish your ideas from the mass. Like you, I have the opinion that the Internet tend to promote the replication of ideas!
    If people realize that a certain concept works, they want to be part of this success. Therefore, if you come up with a great business plan, it will be only a matter of time before competitors enter the market!

    However, this whole stealing process of ides fits very well to my post “are we living in a cpoy&paste generation?” You can check it out at “everythingaroundit” , if you want!

    Great job!!!

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