As the saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In the innovation space, that's not always the case...unless of course you're operating in China, where there is no such thing as a barrier to entry
As an entrepreneur, it's a tough game to be able to differentiate and ultimately own a piece of IP, process, algorithm or approach. For starters, it costs a lot of money and deep pockets in terms of resources. Keeping one's hand close to one's chest doesn't work either, where VC's just won't sign NDA's to the extent you would like them to. Founders are often between a rock and a hard place when it comes to putting their ideas "out there" and hoping (even praying) no one steals them.
Then there is Instagram (owned by Facebook) that recently blatantly copied Snapchat with the introduction of Instagram Stories.
I guess I should be grateful, because for the life of me, I just don't get Snapchat or Snapchat Stories. So this gave me an opportunity to get on the Story bandwagon.
It has taken me a while to "find my authentic voice" and I'm still not sure I'm there yet. I'm using it to say "Good morning!" which often entails a snap of the Metro North. Or clips from a training run as part of my journey to run the New York Marathon for a second time. This past weekend, I had a few clips from my day @ Yankee Stadium watching NYCFC beat LA Galaxy 1-0.
I'm enjoying doodling on my photos and videos too.
In general, I'm getting about 100-120 "views" of my story every 24 hours before it disappears into the ether.
I see the usual early adopters and influencers getting on the bandwagon too (David Armano, CC Chapman, iJustine)
When I see kids (as opposed to overgrown children) on it, they're generally just telling people to add them on Snapchat, which seems like a giant "Up Yours!"
So that's what I'm seeing. Here's what I'm NOT seeing: as many actual Instagram updates as before...
In other words, I'm wondering whether this is actually having an adverse effect on Instagram's core product and equity; cannibalizing the very value proposition that catapulted Instagram into our lives, namely giving amateur humans with average cameras on their smartphone the ability to create extraordinary photos with filters and apps.
Look, if there's one thing I've learned in this space is that you don't write off the 800-pound gorillas. Well, that and the fact Woolly Mammoths no longer exist AKA the bigger they come, the harder they fall (see: Twitter) Our default emotion is normally set to "rage" when it comes to backlash against any decision taken by the main tech players when they DARE to change even the most teeniest tiniest detail of their FREE UI, dashboard, design, button and/or functionality...and this rage typically subsides after a while.
So in other words, while it's probably foolish to short your Facebook stock on the singular condition of Instagram copying Snapchat, I also would pause for a moment to consider why Instagram felt it necessary to have to dilute, devalue and possibly downgrade their core offering and cash cow in the process.
Perhaps the big winner is Snapchat as they are further validated as the authentic and de facto platform of the younger Millennial/Gen Z'er, who would much rather post disposable snaps of themselves puking out rainbows than worry about tilt shift, early bird or sharpen.
PS I am enjoying Instagram founder, @kevin's story of his bike ride through France though :)