Me-too Startups

When Facebook took off, a lot of people wanted to start a social network site. When Uber took off, a lot of people wanted to start another taxi-calling app. We get sick of these me-too startups.

Bill Gross , founder of idealab (not the same person as the famous fixed-income fund manager) systematically analysed key success factors of several highly successful startups in the past (Facebook, Uber, Airbnb, Google, etc.) and found that the most common key success factors of these unicorns was not ideas, teamwork and so forth but timing. The right timing actually explained the highest chance of success for startups. Steve Jobs failed once with Newton, but he got successful with iPhone because wireless/mobile network  technology was ready when iPhone was invented. Uber would never be successful without mobile apps.

He made me think twice about those me-too startups. Perhaps when the first unicorn of a type of business has taken off, it means that the timing of that type of business is just about right. Perhaps those me-too entrepreneurs might not be terribly irrational, after all.


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