Tag Archives: impersonator

Copy, Copy, Copy… It’s a CopyCat World: Brilliant Imitators, Architects of Sameness– It’s an Economy of Impersonators…

We humans prize originality, innovation… yet we are natural-born copycat, imitator, impersonator… Many species of mammals can imitate the world around them, but no other species on earth can imitate with the skill and accuracy of a human being… Humans are natural-born rip-off artists and to be human is to copy. According to Christopher Sprigman; copying is the mighty force that drives many industries… It helps to create trends and helps to destroy them, then paves the way for new ones to take their place… and it’s hard to escape the copycat jungle…

Imitation might be the best form of flattery but it can also end-up in messy legal battles. More than 6,000 patent infringements lawsuits were filed in U. S. last year, where companies were locked in emotional corporate battles spending millions of dollars trying to prove that one poached the other’s– technology, product... Companies loss hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue due to copycats… Even though throughout human history, innovation has been fueled and sustained by imitation…

In the article Copycat Economy by Pete Engardio and Faith Keenan write: Competition is the essence of a market economy, but rarely has it been this brutal… In numerous industries, companies are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain a unique advantage long enough to make good profits on innovation. Time was, when companies could milk a novel product for years before cut-rate clones arrived… But now most industries have copycats knocking at their door before a product has even been released. It’s a ‘copycat economy’ and it raises some critical questions: How do organizations make money in copycat environment, especially when demand is flat?

There are many factors at work, e.g.; in pharmaceuticals, drug-makers are hyping derivatives of old blockbusters as their patents expire and generics swarm-in… In electronics, digitization makes hardware easier to copy… plus explosion of low-cost Asian rivals. Even many innovative strategies of the 90s are commonplace, e.g.; zero-defect quality, efficient supply chains, virtual design… To succeed, companies must constantly innovate products that fetch premium prices, or get costs down to mass-production levels… and do it as soon as a new product hits the market, rather than waiting months later…

In the article Different in a Copycat World by Jonas Ridderstróale, Kjell A. Nordstróm write: The rules by which business is conducted have changed. It’s an age of ‘karaoke’ capitalism– a philosophy of imitation, engrained into the corporate mindset… and the only way to survive is to chuck convention… According to Oded Shenkar; imitation gets a bad rap and imitating firms is seen as a me too? These players are often perceived as a pitiful lot– they have very little original thinking to offer… And so common perception is that this pitiful lot is left to lead a life of picking-up crumbs discarded by innovators…

But that perception is wrong because copying innovation is as critical to prosperity as innovation itself… Savvy imitators generate huge profits through efficiency, cost saving– they save not only on R&D costs but also on marketing and advertising costs. Also they avoid many costly errors by observing, learning from the first movers… Organizations are now forced to come to terms with the new reality; it’s not enough to create a product with groundbreaking design features, but the products must also be designed so as to make them difficult to copy from the very beginning. Organizations must focus on creating value and brands that are protect-able…

In the article Copycat World by Sarah Kauss writes: A glimpse into the copycat world exposes the challenges that the ‘first-to-market’ brands face in a globally manufactured and digitally driven world of innovative products and designs… Although you may be proud to have developed a product worth imitating, it can be very frustrating to see how easily patented creations (and brands) could be at risk of being tarnished by– fake, sub-par imitators… And even though you cannot avoid copycats or sub-par look-a-likes you must be prepared for when they start chasing your success (or literally trying to be you)…

But key question: Do knockoffs or imitations really harm business? Or, do they keep the wheels of industries turning? According to Helena Pike; knockoffs are so inevitable that they are ‘the ransom of success’… Multi-billion-dollar businesses are built on reproducing the latest creations for fraction of the original price. According to Susan Scafidi; calculating the financial and other loss, i.e., reputation… when a brand is copied is notoriously difficult to quantify but certainly, for iconic brands, the loss can be substantial…

In the article Brilliant Impersonators by Kat McGowan writes: A popular belief thinks of innovators as lone genius who with a flash of inspiration brings about a world-changing breakthrough: But that characterization is a myth… Most innovation is mundane; it’s a process of lots of copying and a little bit of creativity. The history of technology shows that advances happen largely through tinkering, i.e.; person(s) recreate, redesign, re-imagine, re-purpose something, which makes it valued differently...

Isaac Newton talked about standing on the shoulders of giants, but he should have said that– innovators are dwarves, standing atop a vast heap of dwarves. Credit should be given where credit is due– the mighty machine of innovation turns out to be powered by an army of– small minds, thinking unoriginal thoughts… According to  Robert Boyd, Peter Richerson; when lots of imitation is mixed with a little bit of individual learning… outcomes can outreach the abilities of any individual genius.  According to Kat McGowan; creating something new is the easy part: What’s really difficult is maintaining a base of knowledge done through copying, and shared for future innovations. Luckily, humans are very good at it…

The usual explanation of why humans are so successful as species is simply that humans are smarter than all other species– humans have huge brains, uniquely intelligence… and that allows them to figure things out through sheer force of logic… However, according to Michael Tomasello; many other species besides humans– copy, learn from each other but only humans ‘over-imitate’– they copy everything even things that are– irrelevant, wrong, unnecessary, illegal… humans are compulsive about it. Copying seems to be part of the human DNA