Free stuff, Scary Gorilla and the lookalike

by Ashvini on September 18, 2012 · 5 comments

in General

If the three things that prevent people from implementing some idea that is already in the market, here they are

Free stuff, Scary Gorilla and the lookalike

If you ever create something that is not path breaking but you are still passionate about, the reactions are as follows

  • because there are free alternatives that will stop people from buying
  • There is a gorilla in the room which will beat you up ( read a “heavyweight”)
  • because the first reaction will be probably “I have seen this before”

These are probably three top reactions that stop people from creating more awesome things , they feel passionate about.

In my opinion, they are more assumptions than truth. Let us examine each of the reaction

Free Alternatives

Free alternatives often completely fulfil the requirements, may have bugs ( or defects) or are not supported by their creators. Let me take an example. Villagers in India often “design” their own vehicle. It is called as “Jugaad” also a quick fix, creative idea, whatever you call it .


Source : wikipedia

Jugaad is simple to create . Just take a tractor / jeep engine, add wheels, steering and a body. You get a vehicle. It works. But does it sell at a car shop? No. It is illegal to drive this on the road. Would a safety conscious family travel in it ? I don’t think so.

When it is free it is good only for something. It is free because either someone has been charitable to just give away work. Or it is free because they want to entice you for a sale down the line. No one can expect someone to keep giving their work for free and support it too.

A site on internet helps people to get almost any task for $5. It is almost free for people from rich countries and allows small freelancers to make some money. The work that the site gets is one that is limited in downside. The maximum you can lose for a job badly done is $5.

Not to say that there are not excellent freelancers at the site but I would look somewhere else if my work’s worth > $5.

Gorilla in the room

Either there is a gorilla in the room or you are the Gorilla.

  • Google is a Gorilla in ad world
  • Apple is Gorilla in smartphones
  • Facebook in social media

As far I can see there are Gorillas everywhere. If they are not , they will appear out of nowhere. There are people however who are scared of becoming customers of a Gorilla because

  1. They are scared of size of the Gorilla
  2. They are scared of costs
  3. They are scared of complexity.

So if you have a product that appeals to people who are scared of Gorillas, you have tapped a market. That market would be difficult to find but it’s there and ready to work with you.

Help!! A lookalike

Movie industry has survived for many years. There are three basic ingredients in a movie.1) A Hero 2) A Heroine 3) A villain. Countless movies have been created on the basis of idea that the hero and heroine fall in love, the villain creates some problem and the villain is destroyed(killed /caught by law) in the end. This formula works every time, all the time. Even though we know the movie we still go and see these movies many times. Why?


Each movie may have the same formula but has different story, action sequence and climaxes. Each movie differentiates itself from other either in cast or twist and turn.

All restaurants serve the same pasta (or curry if you like Indian). What makes one restaurant better than the other? Is it food? May be. But food is also a part of overall experience. The experience starts right from the booking a table in that restaurant to the speed of clearing billing.

Some ice- creams taste better than others? If they bring nostalgia of childhood, yes they do. If they remind you of time you were in love and you were having it with your lover, then it tastes the best.

All pizza chains deliver pizza in 30 minutes. It’s a given. They differentiate on innovation, variety, customer service, location among many other things.

See the toothbrush industry, shaving tools industry and many others. Just when you thought, nothing new could be done, they astonish you with innovations.

What does it mean in the end?

There will always be a Gorilla, a freebie and a lookalike. In anything that you do, they will be there. If not, they will appear in a short time. You need to find your market, your “mojo”. These three should not really stop you from building what you are passionate about.

About The Author


Jeevan Jacob John September 28, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Hahaha ;)

I liked the scary Gorilla analogy/example, Ashvini!

Oh, Jugaad. I had heard that term a lot (Especially, after the Common wealth games). I think the games themselves gave Jugaad a bad connotation. But, Jugaad necessarily mean bad?

No, right? (But, in the internet world, free almost always means bad, well not bad, but the person who gives it always has an agenda – I guess that’s true always).

And the last one, that might be the most frightening one.

Well, it makes people nervous a lot.

But, what should we be worried about?

Just do it!

Like you said, the movie industry is full of lookalikes, they almost have the same stories, but what makes those movies different?

The way they story is delivered, right?

That’s what matters (Well, the content matters too!).

Ashvini Kumar Saxena October 1, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Hi Jeevan,

A lot of people are really scared of starting on their own because the idea/product already exists. Entrepreneurship is not only having an original idea but also to improve on an existing idea. If someone improves a process/product ( within legal limits), he can start his own business and be successful with it. With time , companies often lose focus of things that their customer desire. That is the time for entrepreneurs to spot the opportunity and make best of it.
However the only refrain I see is “there is already one”. To that my answer is “Can you build better or different?”.
Jugaad is not bad. It is useful in many cases for example when people cannot afford costlier things. However as a brand its hard to create a jugaad and build on it. Jugaad needs to be temporary and not permanent solution to any problem. Unfortunately world is relying more on Jugaad to fix its problems( for e.g. in financial world ).
Thanks for awesome comment Jeevan :)

Radu September 19, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Indeed, Google is the giant in the advertising world. But i think we need also some other players in order to have a fair competition.

Adrienne September 18, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Now that really does make sense Ashvini! I never really thought about it that way. I love it when people share things with me that I perhaps just didn’t see.

I know that so many people are willing to go that cheap route and I honestly believe that those who aren’t willing to go that extra mile we just need to forget about. Like you said, know who your market is and go after them. Give them what they want and there are going to be similarities with everything these days. Perhaps your product had one more special something or your customer service was a much better experience. Whatever it make be, make it work their while.

Thanks for sharing this.


P.S. What happened to your tweet button? It’s gone, yikes!!!

Ashvini Kumar Saxena October 1, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Hi Adrienne,

Thanks for your comment and sorry for the late reply. I believe competition will increase and so will differentiation. Differentiate the product and listen to your customers. That is what is going to make all the difference. There are millions of blogs all around the world but a very few worthy of mention. And these blogs worthy of mention have their own unique style ( you know all of this :) ) .
The tweet button has a different config. May be I need to change the configuration. But its working for me. What is the problem that you faced ?

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