Probably, but that’s a good thing.
Because only the best ideas get stolen.
Think of all those North Face copies on the streets of Hanoi or the Nike copies on the streets of Beijing.
Your job as the creator and entrepreneur is to build a moat around your idea, to protect people from taking away the core and essence of it.
Because physical products can easily be replicated, but intangibles like communities and branding are difficult to steal.
Let’s look at an example here. There are manufacturers out there who can build you a phone exactly like the Apple iPhone. The components aren’t that difficult to source if you know what you’re looking for. What differentiates iPhones from any other phone clones or copies on the market is the brand, service, and community that surrounds the product itself. The added status that you get just by holding an iPhone in your hand.
Another very prominent example is the Fitbit. Sure, there are a lot of other activity trackers out there on the market (building one really isn’t rocket science). However, Fitbit still takes the lion’s share of the market since they’ve created a robust community through their associated app and events.
How do you build a moat around your product idea?
Answer: by building intellectual property around the idea and building that community that makes your offering ironclad.
This is so that people know that you’re the first. And also so that they know you’re the one producing the best.
Take a look at MATE. They launched their second Indiegogo campaign to sell the most affordable fully-loaded folding eBike.
Even before their campaign was even finished with crowdfunding, a ton of copies popped up online.
These are bikes with the same MATE body, outfitted with different tires and branded differently.
They’ve built up a community so strong that their backers come back to report to MATE about copies/clones (so that the campaigners can take legal action).
The community is so strong that they converse with one another and encourage each other to pre-order from MATE rather than the cheaper, more affordable clone.
That’s the power you have by being the first to bring an idea to crowdfunding. Your role as the creator launching on a crowdfunding campaign is to bring an idea to life and form that community to protect its integrity.
So I say just do it.
Launch your idea and make it worth stealing.
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