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Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. His business interests include a diverse range of industries from manufacturing to property to technology. As a technology commentator he has a broad presence both in the traditional media and extensively online. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

More about Ben here.

7 responses to “Imitation May be the Sincerest Form of Flattery, But All You Need Is Love”

  1. Millind

    Hi Ben

    What I really liked about the post is the way it has been written and the sarcasm it illustrates. While coming to your imitation issue, I feel that online sphere is extremely vast with very little presence of intellectual property. In your post, you seem biased towards Freshbooks (Might be you are being paid by them…God knows!! well, let’s not touch upon that issue.) as you can not declare a product a clone without giving some proofs.

    But leaving behind what should be done and should not be done, I was all this while wondering that how on earth did you come to know that person was actually an employee of the company. Did you clarify with the company or did you email him/her or did you already know the person…I mean how did you manage to tail down the person. Did you track the person by his name or his website? If this is the case, then what if I started posting comments by your name, then what you think, would that comment be actually made by you?

    Might be there could be some magical formula that you have to know the identity of a person by checking the comment posted by him/her. Please share that magical formula with me as well.

    Thumbs up to you for your efforts. It is amazing how this would help me reduce spam comments on my blog.

  2. Ben Kepes

    Hi Millind

    1) I disclose any paid gigs I do. The closest I got to being *paid* by FreshBooks was CEO Mike McDerment paying for the dinner we all had before I moderated the Money 2.0 panel discussion at Office 2.0 last year – If I’m *biased towards FB* it’s because they have a great product and a successful business – not bad rationale IMHO
    2) Re the commenter, I did my own investigation and, looking at the balance of probabilities, decided that they were who they said they were – my judgement call and I reserve that right as a journalist. (and yes – DNS and email tracking helps ;-) )
    3) It’s not an IP issue, what it is though is a case of a me-too product, with little thought of differentiation. Differentiation does not need to be product based necessarily – perhaps it’s target customer or marketing based – neither of which seems to be the casein this example

    Cheers

    Ben

  3. Milind

    Ben

    You show a great deal of adulation to FreshBooks. But I was looking for some intriguing insights from your end on the issue. After skimming through your post again I did have a look at Invoicera and compared it to FreshBooks. Only discovery that I could make was that both have the same product (in that case there are numerous facsimile of FreshBooks) which in no means represents the copycat matter.

    Another thought that zipped across my head was, you write about the latest news and updated on various products and from different industries. This is obviously something really commendable and appreciative. But what if someone else is offering the same and shares the same knowledge base. Then does that that mean that person has facsimile your content (I believe your honest answer would be ‘No’).

    With due respect to you, it could be vice-versa also. Would that mean you have copied the content and contradict yourself? Maybe you would not openly admit it, but everyone has his moment of epiphany.

  4. Ben Kepes

    Milind – you seem a little confused about the point I make re Invoicera. True I called them a copycat product but the bulk of what I was trying to get across about them was the fact that spamming blog comments as an attempt to gain credibility is a recipe for disaster.

    I’m not quite sure where you’re going on this one – perhaps the alleged “adulation” I feel for FreshBooks is because they are transparent and open – I can email the CEO any time I want and every question I’ve ever asked of them has been answered quickly – something that other companies (and especially those relying on spammy comments) – should emulate

    I think we can finish this discussion now…..

  5. swami

    Hi Ben

    First of all let me say that your blog posts are really nice and meaningful with some good industry insights. But this particular discussion did catch my eyes and can’t hold myself back to jump into the matter. All I would like to add is that both you and Millind are missing out some vital points in the course of the discussion. I think what Millind is trying to suggest that both Invoicera and Freshbooks are two different products with similar offerings i.e. they are both original in their own respective ways. This could be right to a certain extent.

    Perhaps you are trying to say that you reserve the right to make your judgement call based on your intuitions. I don’t deny this, but in the process a journalist has to keep in mind that he/she is not biased and does not destroy the online reputation of any other brand just because of intuitions.

    No personal grudges though but I believe both are really good products (I haven’t used both of them myself).

    Thanks
    Swami

  6. Ben Kepes

    @Swami – please refer to my response above re the focus of this post…

  7. Roshad

    Hey Ben

    I just reviewed your post and corresponding comments. I would not like to start a new discussion here, since lot of points have already been enumerated here. But I was particularly amused when you mentioned that you errand FreshBooks because they are transparent and its CEO shoots up quick response to your mails. This criterion is somewhat prejudice and obscure.

    The highlight is the quality of the product/service that any company is offering and this activity only supports it. It is very likely that other companies offering the same service are doing the same.

    Roshad