Clones vs the real thing

Last night I bought a few things on Amazon. The shopping experience on Amazon hasn’t changed much over the years except for Amazon Prime (which I love). In my opinion Amazons check out experience is one of the best out there. 

I always wondered why other ecommerce sites don’t just lift the Amazon check out experience. So many shopping sites have checkout experiences that feel like they were built in 1996. 

And then it hit me. We, the consumer, know the difference between the real thing and the clone. It’s sorta the same reason why I never bought a Mac clone back in the day or why I don’t buy a fake watch on Canal Street. I want the real thing. So each ecommerce site should try to make their own experience and pave their own way. That’s a good thing. 

It’s also why I never ask a founder pioneering a new consumer web service if he’s afraid that another startup or big company XYZ is going to clone his/her app. Big ideas are one thing but execution is critical. And the same startup that creates a new, useful product is has a great chance of beating another company that tries to clone the little company. A few years ago someone sent me this link to the 250 Twitter clones out there. I’m not sure if this list is longer today or shorter but I never worried about that.  

Why is that?

Because the innovator is always thinking ahead (or two or three steps ahead), creating the user experience, increasing the value of the brand and has a relationship with the user. 

The clone maker doesn’t have that relationship.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are times where a big company uses their advantages to destroy the small company by copying features. Regretably it does happen. 

But i believe the very best entrepreneurs can survive and thrive because they are the pioneers. They are the real thing.