Friday, October 21, 2016

Copycat Follies - Part One

A near perfect element to assure failure in business is to worry about having your product "stolen" "copied" "pirated" or whatever you want to call it.  There is zero chance of this happening in the real world, but yet again, here, we have another article on the topic, with the dead-horse theme: it's even more of a problem with the internet.   If you want to be in business you must deal with reality.  Leaving behind a mind that is driven by social conditioning is part of the process of self-transformation, and with business as self-transformation, it can be hard to do.

I have never heard of the magazine Quartz, but it has a pretty silly article, hitting on all of the nonsense points of the non-controversy.  The article is a rehash of another dozen articles I've read saying the same thing, which is funny, an article complaining about copycats being a copycat.  The idea I've read a dozen times is Shenzhen watches kickstarter for new ideas to "steal."

If you bother to read the silly article, note not once does the article address "customers."  People worried about Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) never do.
The Israeli entrepreneur had spent one year designing the product that would make him rich—a smartphone case that unfolds into a selfie stick. He had drawn up prototypes, secured some minimal funds from his family, and launched a crowdfunding campaign.
I like crowdfunding, because it mimics the ancient act of subscription to get a good idea on the market.  I wonder at someone taking a year to design something so simple, and I wonder at someone being so simple as to think a selfie-stick will make him rich.  But that is the set-up for people who worry about their ideas stolen, they are delusional.  And people in torment, even the sad delusional kind, make good stories these days.
But one week after his product hit Kickstarter in December 2015, Sherman was shocked to see it for sale on AliExpress—Alibaba’s English-language wholesale site. Vendors across China were sellingidentical smartphone case selfie-sticks, using the same design Sherman came up with himself. Some of them were selling for as low as $10 a piece, well below Sherman’s expected retail price of £39 ($47.41). 
Pause for a moment.  One week after launching his idea, Sherman sees it on Alibaba.  What makes Sherman think he thought of it first?  It is a an obvious idea.  Very often many people have the same idea at once.  The fact one factory actually uses the same name as Sherman uses only means perhaps seeing it on Kickstarter, a non-English speaker thought it a fine name to put on the product.  If Sherman stole the Chinese idea, the Chinese may mulct Sherman's name for it.
Sherman had become a victim of China’s lightning-fast copycats. Before he had even found a factory to make his new product, manufacturers in China had spied his idea online, and beaten him to the punch. When his Kickstarter backers caught on, they were furious. “You are charging double the price for what the copycats are charging, yet I seriously doubt the final product will be any better than the copycats,” one person commented.
"Victim" is not established, but this wildly irresponsible writer uses the term anyway. "Spied" "beaten" "punch"  What drivel! Why would Sherman start a Kickstarter campaign without knowing the costs of his item?  How could he name an amount to raise without knowing what costs need to be covered? Reading this I doubt Sherman ever intended to do anything but make a name for himself as an advocate for solving a problem that does not exist.

Such a sob story sells well (indeed, again, I've read this kind of article many times) and is preliminary for government work, that is, solving problems that do not exist.

I wonder at kickstarter backers who fund an idea that has no information about production.  I wonder at, if Sherman saw his item available, he did not simply buy "his idea" from a readily available source and honor his commitment to backers?

(As a side note, I think as long as writers robotically write whatever the socially conditioned ideas extant, writers are the more easily replaced by robots.)
While discussions of intellectual property in China’s manufacturing centers once focused on how brands and investors could protect their designs from China’s rapacious copycats, things have changed. Startups and foreign manufacturers are embracing a new reality—someone in China is going to make a knockoff of your unique invention, almost immediately. All any company or entrepreneur can do is prepare for it.
No nothing has changed. In the mid-1970s, before both Sherman and this writer were born, I was travelling into China twice a year to work with Chinese factories to develop products for sale to USA.  Shenzhen was a sleepy fishing village with a bridge over a creek that we crossed after getting off the free market train from Hong Kong onto the communist paradise train from the border to Canton (Guangzhou.)  Taiwan and Hong Kong were supposed then to be the big "copycat problem." Neither were, nobody actually with customers ever worried about the "problem."  We entered China by way of Hong Kong.  Back then, and to this day, at the lane that runs from Nathan Road to the Hong Kong Hotel, behind the Peninsula Hotel, Peking Road, you will be accosted "copy watch, copy watch" by touts offering luxury brand watches for $30.  Great Seiko movements.  Copy Rolex watches being sold in front of the #1 Rolex retail store on planet earth (OK, so it moved a coouple of years ago, but not because touts were selling the copy watches out front.

If you have customers, you have no problem.  Today, as back then, the only preparation you need is customers.  Note again, an entire article, and no mention of customers.
China’s knockoffs come in many different forms, and can affect businesses large and small.
No they don't.
In some cases, factories will make products that physically resemble ones made by prominent brands. Quality may vary... ...Other times, a Chinese partner factory will produce extra units of a product they agreed to make for another company, and sell the surplus items themselves online or to other vendors.
Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, drew criticism when he told investors in June (paywall) that fake goods “are of better quality and of better price than the real names” and come from “exactly the same factories” as authentic goods. But there’s some truth to his comments.
Yes, true, but no, not a problem.

Tomorrow in part two I'll deal with these non-issues and the rest of the article.

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