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“Me too” companies

In our industry, we often hear people look down on “me-too” companies. I think it’s often misused.

Typically, the “me too” label is used to describe a company going after a highly competitive space with what appears to be a very similar product.

It’s easy to dismiss any new music service or a new social net or perhaps a personal financial web service. Don’t we have enough of these things already?

Last week Don Dodge published a post “Why do Fast Followers often beat the First Mover Innovators”. In addition to all the examples that Don shared there are many more.

Consider Guitar Freaks that came out in 1998. Here’s a  Guitar Freaks video on YouTube. You can see that it had influence on the widely successful Guitar Hero. But I don’t consider Guitar Hero to be a me-too game. They innovated in some big & important ways.

I think there are many people that have never been an entrepreneur (or a VC) that are too quick to judge. They don’t appreciate how these things are different.

Don’t get me wrong. We look for ideas that are disruptive and completely original. And you can’t say enough about the importance of execution.

And yes, there are plenty of clones out there. Those aren’t interesting to me. And I’m also not interested backing entpreneurs that lack a unique vision and hangs to the mantra “hey, the market opportunity is huge and there will be multiple winners!”.

That ain’t enough.

But I’m not going to paint startups innovating in highly competitive markets with crazy/daring/brilliant/audacious ideas with a simple, broad brush and call them all me-too.