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A curious case of copy cat

Imagine this…

You come out with a novel product. People like it.

And within 6 months a friend comes out with a copy cat product. And the worst part is, you have taught this friend the tricks of the trade.

What will be your reaction?

My reaction: I like my friend more than ever before!


1. A copy cat product is partially a proof of your concept. It says, “Yes, people like this product. And some are even willing to take risk, by making it their business”.

2. While your competitor has lifted your idea, he will not remain dormant. He will add more features to it. In essence this competitor is giving you fresh ideas, which may have not crossed your mind. If the ideas are good, accept them VERY QUICKLY!

3. While the competitor doesn’t remain dormant, he keeps you all the more alert and you are always on your toes in the pursuit of growth.

4. The competitor expands the market pie, forget market share for the time being.  More people come to know about your product. And eventually, people will gravitate toward a better product.  

5. In the end, the fuel for any business is the passion and courage of the entrepreneur. If you have that and can put that into action, do you think anyone can copy that?


What is your view?


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  1. Completely Agree… and I happen to think the exact same way…

    Another point is

    No one can be as passionate as you are about your business Idea.

  2. i dont think its about idea.

    its only about execution

    when a monkey copies a man reading a book, he can only pretend to read it….

  3. Something I wrote in Nov 2010:



    So, I saw the Social Network yesterday and was BLOWN away.

    Awesome movie and amazing story.The bulk of the minutes of the movie were spent on the controversies surrounding Facebook (and not the success of the business), and that got me thinking.

    What REALLY is important?IDEA or EXECUTION?

    A couple of years ago, I had presented at some marketing forum, and after I stepped down from the Podium and began mingling with the crowds, a sophisticated and mature man approached me. He rather cockily said ‘Alok, you know, I had thought of an idea like way before you did’.  (Contests2win was my first Internet venture in India and made me who I am today). 

    I said ‘Wow…great…proves that good ideas always emerge many minds’.

    Mr. Smart Ass retorted ‘ Yeah, and I had many more ideas about the concept than u did. It had x and y and z features and……’. He went on barking for 10 minutes.

    When he ended his ejaculation, I looked at him and send ‘Dude, It was me who was on Stage, not You’. And I walked off.

    Who damn cares about whose idea it was? Its all ABOUT EXECUTION.

    In the Case of Facebook:- The original three ideators of the networking site may not have had even 1/100th the power of imagination that Mark Zuckerberg had that made FB – FB!

    – Just by executing to their plan, Mark would have killed what has become the biggest phenomena on this planet.

    These are the reasons I think EXECUTION  is far more important than IDEAS:

    – It only starts with an Idea. Its just the beginning.


    What evolves is what makes a big business happen or vanish. Look at the case of eBay! What Pierre Omidyar imagined and started and what Meg Whitman MADE IT!

    – Its all about massive hard work and burning those tyres on those roads.


    I have met 4419 unique people to date (unique visiting cards indexed by me) and have begged them for business. That work is far more greater than an IDEA of Interactive Marketing and just talking about it.

    – Lots of similar ideas abound.


    Its that SPARK, extra benefit or even Marketing that takes it to a new orbit. Rocket Mail existed way before Hotmail came along…Only Sabeer Bhatia had the Imagination to add ‘get free mail on Hotmail’ as a slug… Now, Blackberry and Apple and everyone does it – but he DEFINED VIRAL MARKETING!

    So – what’s your idea….Oops…your execution?





  4. Alok Bhai Amazing its so right.I meet so may people everyday and everyone has an idea and some times I get these from Babies just born.I wonder if these people have any idea about execution and HARD WORK.I just smile inside and say Yeh this is a great idea because I know someone who really thinks its a great idea must be working on it from his garage.

    Thanks for sharing

  5. Hi,

    I’m an old-school type ka aadmi – in the sense that I cut my teeth on my family business of Apparel. (Infact I love to tell Alok whenever I got the chance that I’d even applied to him for a job in 2002 at C2W.)

    But my point to the copycat argument is, over years of working first for a family business built on ripping off designer garments to “look like” them and create “unique” designs for my customers for about 3% of the cost and doing volumes in the next season on these designs, I have the greatest respect for individual ingenuity.

    But as an entrepreneur and a “guy with lots of ideas” I personally think an Idea has no intrinsic worth. I know this because I tried raising money for 4 months frutitlessly with just an idea and a plan in mind with absolutely NO traction / implementation.

    Today, I am in the process of raising debt on my own business to build out a brand new idea I’ve had and seeing it be executed properly to ensure profitable stable business, before I go to town about it.

    I’m sure people will ape my concept that promises to bring over 300 million consumers onto the grid. It combines the best worlds of new-age mobile tech and old-age bania logic. It doesnt change consumer behaviour. It just disrupts almost all existing disorganised supply chains.

    But competition doesnt scare me anymore. As you said, Milan, I welcome them. They keep us alive, and kicking. Usually ourselves for overlooking some minor detail or for being inefficient. Another important fact I’ve learnt is that usually if you have that “how the f*&# does he afford to sell at THAT price and make a profit” factor, you’ll be fine. I choose to BE that person. Not bitch about that person.



  6. You still have the first mover advantage. Utilize it.

  7. Alok, couldn’t be explained better.. 🙂

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