Friday, August 29, 2014

To Founders Under 40™ Group Members: Entrepreneur & INC. Companies You Don’t Need to be a "Me Too"

I can understand human beings can’t help copying others unconsciously. We learn from other founders successes and try to copy tactics that significantly helped them. For example, since the death of Steve Jobs, there’s been a growth in entreprenurs who believe they are as visionary as Mr. Jobs.
We occasionally copy celebrities fashion styles. We drive cars that our mentors drive.

My problem, it appears that a growing number of entrepreneurs and INC. companies are so lazy. Just settling for "Me Too"

“Silicon Valley start-ups can be astoundingly unoriginal." - Alain S.
"So are tiny, fractional variations on something that already exists. Look no further than the types of companies that are trying to raise funding from venture capitalists here.
On Angel List, a network for investors and entrepreneurs, the proof of this is visible in aggregate. Search this site for “Uber for,” “Uber meets,” or “Uber of,” and you will be met with hundreds of start-ups that are pitching themselves as a slight variation on Uber, the fast-growing, taxi-like service.”-Alain S.

Some of us have plenty of resources, millions in  funds, expertise, media contacts,  contacts around the world, brain power, and yet the only business venture we can establish is an exact imitation of other peoples ideas or a mediocre twist or business that don’t really change the world.

“What Tesla lacks in sales, it makes up for in chutzpah. Eight-year-old Tesla plans to disrupt the auto industry by making mass-production EVs and selling them directly to customers, eliminating traditional dealers and providing personalized service that is Formula One-like in speed and efficiency.”- Unknown

Now every car company suddenly is taking EV market seriously and Tesla is the target. In the short term you imitate someone but long term you have no soul behind it. Current car companies have killed the souls in their brands. Telsa seems to be building a car company with a soul.

There are tonnes of examples of F1000 and startups just copying, coping identically others and sometimes forget that adoting innovation is not a surface thing...I, would believe it has to be DNA thing. .

“Me Too” Syndrome?  Signs:

“Symptoms to watch out for

Do you find yourself not just watching the competition, but excessively imitating their every move?

Competitor A has a Pinterest account –  quick! let’s create one, spend hours every week pinning random garbage, and soon we’ll be just as awesome.

Competitor B has an iPhone, iPad, Facebook, (insert name of platform here) app – quick! let’s pay a freelance developer $1000 to build one so we can seize the opportunity.

Competitor C has X amount of inbound links, Twitter followers, or positive reviews – quick! let’s make it a top priority to have just as much, if not more.

Competitor D is blogging 5 times a week and has just released an incredible infographic – quick! let’s work 20 extra hours a week, stock up on energy drinks, ignore our families, and try and do the same.” - Unknown Author


Warning: Treating me too syndrome isn’t always easy, especially if an ignorant coworker / founder is calling the shots, however if you catch it early enough it *might* be curable.

Step 1. Get back to your unique value proposition

What makes you unique? What does your startup do that nobody else can, or in what way are you different than all of the competition? Is it outstanding customer service, or incredible value for the price? Maybe it’s minimal design or a compelling, feels good, giving back to the world type of mantra. Whatever it is, narrow in on it and let it guide you on what to do next.

Step 2. Advocate for quality

It doesn’t matter what marketing campaign or big branding move you want to pull if it ends up bombing. Take some time, have a plan, and execute to your teams fullest capabilities. If this means spending a couple thousand (thousands, not hundreds) on a whitepaper, then so be it. If this means working with some fresh talent to better express your ideas, then so be it. Make sure that whatever you do, be it small or big, is of high quality.

Step 3. Stop copying the giants

Airbnb can work up plenty of jaw dropping marketing initiatives, because well… they’ve got a super talented staff and over 100 million in funding to pull from. You and me though, our startups are just babies (maybe not, but probably). The game is much different. To stand out you can’t just simply copy the competition, it’s not going to be enough. Stick to what works, but never be afraid to experiment with new tactics.” - Unknow Authur

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