How Not To Innovate: Trying To Create An Exact Replica Of Another Service
from the gotta-go-beyond-that dept
Yet, we always hear of people fearing companies copying one another (sometimes mistakenly calling them "thieves" or decrying their unoriginality). And yet, it seems pointless to worry about such things. Even as people always seem to be afraid of big companies with big budgets copying others, history has shown time and time again that this almost never works. That's because merely copying what someone is doing not only takes you "where the puck has been" rather than "where the puck is going," but also has you focused solely on the outward, superficial aspects of what makes another product or service successful. What's missing is an awful lot of details in the background -- the knowledge of why certain things work and don't work, as well as how users and customers actually interact with the product. Such copying almost inevitably fails.
With that said, it seems like Samsung's plan to make its own Facebook, using the rather telling code name "Samsung Facebook" seems destined to fail for exactly that reason. The very fact that they're internally calling it "Samsung Facebook" shows that they're already aiming at a target in the past, rather than the future. It's the exact wrong approach and almost guarantees that whatever comes out of it will be seen as pointless by the time it launches. Learning from what others do is a useful strategy. Copying what others do can be a very important business strategy -- but it has to be done with the goal of exceeding where those others are heading, not in replicating what they've already done. That's a recipe for expensive failures.