At Tech Collective, we sometimes get a bit maudlin and write a story about the startup world that isn’t positive nor uplifting. It is, we hope, a realistic view of issues we believe aren’t addressed enough in a constructive manner.

What our entrepreneurs think about the region.

Here’s one just for the dreamers out there.

Your ideas probably aren’t original…

Your ideas can crash and burn easily.

Having a new idea is amazing because it shows us two things:

  • We’re special
  • We’re original

Here’s where it all falls apart. Your brilliant idea for a business, song, new work process, or even a title of a blog post, has probably been thought of, used and then discarded because it didn’t work.

So you’re probably not special and you’re definitely not original.


Editor’s note: We didn’t pick these pictures, the writer did… We’re sorry.

History proves us right

The sad part is that this has been happening throughout history. Scientific discoveries and revelations have been regurgitated and rehashed multiple times by different people. They haven’t copied or cheated, but they aren’t original.

Calculus? You may credit Newton, but Leibniz probably has a few things to say about that.

Equations written in chalk on a worn-out blackboard
Editor’s note: Math is math.

Heck, even Darwin and Wallace discovered the evolution at about the same time.

Here’s why we shouldn’t be sad all the time

But why shouldn’t we feel upset and disappointed all the time?

Because there are people who have actually been semi-original or at least lent a new twist to something. That’s where startup success stories are born.

  • Uber didn’t invent the taxi industry or using a mobile app to book something. They combined the two for a better customer experience. They gave birth to companies like Grab, Ola, and Didi.
  • AirBnB didn’t invent hotels or renting out rooms, but they sure as hell popularised it and made it easier than ever before.
  • Tinder didn’t create love and hooking up, but they commoditized it and made it a real business. You’re welcome Paktor and Coffee Meet Bagel.
Lovers kiss on a tropical ocean swing at sunset
We’re soppy and proud of it.

So, does that mean, it doesn’t matter if we’re not original?

The short answer is yes and no.

Being original is actually something we should all strive to be. It helps us innovate, elevate our industry and create positive change. By questioning the norm and looking to improve, we actually help grow industries and create new categories in business.

Why joining a startup might not be for you

However, a lot of companies have shown that being original doesn’t matter, being able to stay the course does. First-mover advantage is great, however, entering a market after someone has opened it up and educated consumers can actually help the pretender or the copycat.

Business is harsh.

Final words

We really can’t stay maudlin for so long, but in all honesty, we live in a copycat world, but that isn’t a bad thing. We’re moving forward incrementally. People still dream big and once every now and then, we see something in the horizon that actually might be original.

So never let the dreams die, but don’t feel discouraged if takes you time to get there.