On the web there is a lot of copying. I can see evidence of copying from business partners, customers and competitors all the time. Some comfort themselves by saying it is the highest form of flattery. I disagree. If you tell the person and credit them, it is entirely different than if you silently steal.
The internet blurs a lot of our thinking about such issues. Yet, we can visually see and experience masterpieces across the web. High class websites vs. something built on a GoDaddy editor is apparent. The feeling of trust or mistrust we have tracks with the fidelity of the systems we see.
We can see others blogging, then we sign up for a free blogging site. Little do we know that the form factor we see soon turns into work. It may be easy to set up, but it’s hard to keep going. You have to actually think, have ideas and provide value to the world. Otherwise you are ignored and marginalized.
When you look at a magazine, you can see photos and articles. There is an entire organization, process and production system behind what you hold in your hands. The magazine is simply ink, cut paper and staples. That’s the commodity.
The value is the content. The pictures, articles and layout all take work. You can sense this when you see it intuitively. Thus, very few people attempt to replicate what magazines deliver. They set the bar high with quality and the experience becomes irreducible.
So the question is, how do you become irreducible? If you are easily copied, then your value in the new economy is only a copy away.
However, if you can provide accessible value with fidelity that exceeds the convenience factor for others who are unwilling to do the work and pay the price, then you can insulate yourself from the effects of commoditization the internet lends itself towards.
What are your thoughts?