re: katz

brain dump of my business and life musings on the past present and future. enjoy, question, argue and share.

When Imitation is not Flattery but Forgery

I like to embrace competition and I love a good match. In fact I have tremendous respect for founders who go out and dive into a competitive market because they know they can solve the problem better than anyone else through innovation and better design or better service. Companies have been copying many of Geeklist’s innovative ideas from day one, but in new ways, respectful ways. We found an early startup which had recently pivoted into music using our exact strings (they respectfully said to my co-founder, Christian, “we learned from the best” - flattery.) we’ve had companies use our vision of giving props to founders in achievement format in Super Bowl ads (see previous blog), we’ve had other companies outright take our achievement card concept and two weeks after we launch go out and launch achievements too. 

But I not only have no respect for forgery, as a designer and artist it makes me sick. There is a thick line drawn between being influenced by a design and innovating with something similar or using it in a new way and just plain forgery. 

Then I thought of our bad-ass front-end engineer, pouring hours and hours into getting it right and really innovating with a great design which I’d never seen done quite in that way. (geekli.st/chrisstumph) He built a slick and very friendly search mechanism that looks fantastic. This company, who doesn’t even deserve the attention, has crossed the line of fair play and should be questioned by investors and users as to how innovative are they, really? 

Here is our search on Geeklist which has been live for months:

Here is the new search coderly copied from us, released two days ago and announced on Angellist.  

Here is another comparison. http://cl.ly/3H3w252k252r221h2q0j 

Big Hi 5 to our own designer for telling me “Heh, imitation is the highest form of flattery. I think it’s awesome. The only down side is that they are an obvious competitor.” - You rock Christopher for the positive outlook. But well, they are no competitor to us and it is not flattery in this case. It’s abhorrent behavior in the startup world to not only take an idea, but then copy the designs. I love competition, it motivates me, but this is not how to compete.

I like to be associated with companies that innovate and are originators of great ideas as you are only as good as the company you keep. This War-time CEO is protective of his team, investors and Geeklist… and I’m taking names. 

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