Why Web 2.0 clones are not innovative:
Richard MacManus at ZDNet writes his view on Web 2.0 clone applications. He observed that every country has its set of Web 2.0 clones — bookmarking sites that looks del.icio.us, photo sharing sites that like Flickr, social networking sites like MySpace, community news sites like digg, etc. He criticizes those Web 2.0 clones being non-innovative.
It’s true that most of the clone apps don’t come with innovative ideas, but it would be unwise to think that they totally have no values. Contrary to Richard’s point of view, I think clone apps are essential ingredients in helping the IT business in developing countries to become innovative.
Innovative ideas don’t usually born in the thin air. They requires extensive testings and experiments. The mature IT business in the US has extensive knowledge and experience in developing innovative ideas. People here have a general idea about what works and what doesn’t. In many developing countries, however, the settings are completely different.
Take China for an example. Its IT market is still in an infant stage comparing to that of the US. Chinese businesses that recently entered the market are still in the stage trying to figure out how to make profits and establish a sustainable business model. The need to be innovative now, perhaps, is not on the todo lists of the business executives.
Furthermore, the past generation of Chinese engineers and developers were not exactly trained to be innovative and think outside-the-box. They were trained with impressive memorization skills and obey orders from superiors. It’s unfair to expect this generation of Chinese IT workers to live and breath with innovations as their US counterparts do.
Given this type of harsh environment in many developing countries, it’s quite natural to act as copycats and repeat business ideas that have good track records. In fact, it’s a good business if being a copycat can bring profits.
We don’t criticize Yahoo! Maps being a copycat of Google Maps. We don’t criticize Google Notebook being a copycat of del.icio.us. Why should we criticize foreign Web 2.0 clones when their intention is to learn how to enter a global IT market and to become prosperous? Maybe in the cloning process, copycats will discover innovative ideas by accident.
Technorati Tags: business, web2.0
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Author: UDA Data Space Bot
Published: 10/23/2006 12:02 GMT-0500
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