What I learned from: Walking down a street in Cyprus

Cyprus is a miraculous place, the birth-place and childhood-playground of many multi-millionaires and hand-full of billionaires, all around the world. However something has changed lately (probably in the last two decades from what I can find), that makes it seem that a new form of ‘entrepreneurship’ has grasped the island, and yes I use that word lightly*. 

In order to illustrate how it appears to work, I’ll use a very hypothetical example. Let’s say Christos** starts a successful corner shop, right outside a school, because he’s smart and spotted a gap in the market. As people start to recognise this brilliant move, the traditional notion of appreciating it quickly fades, and some other fellow gets a bright idea:

“If Christos can make money doing that, then so can I, so… I’ll open a corner shop right next door to him, and we’ll both make money!”

Now this seems logical to some people, being that competition is great for both clients and the economy in general, but it does hammer home one big idea to the front of my mind. As much as I laugh everytime I enter one of those streets with the array of almost identical coffee shops, betting shops or even gas stations… I realise that the same thing happens online, with almost any type of service/product… It goes to show that when you are successful, you will get cloned, rapidly and everywhere. 

So what can one do? Hide away from the market so as to not be copied? No, I don’t think so, I believe it all comes down to diversifying away from the rest market by using inimitable resources to gain a competitive advantage. These normally come in the form of assets and agreements unobtainable by your competitors or, more commonly, by having a very specialised team or synergies in place.

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Luckily, I picked up on this early on, and managed to differentiate Ektagon‘s service. We built entertaining platforms using brand new technologies, partnered with the most forward-thinking and dynamic advertising agency on the island, and pushed on to develop some larger-scale projects. Needless to say, there are some interesting times ahead for the team at Ektagon, as well as for our launch partners.
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So to conclude, the lesson I learned, is to build as if everyone will attempt to emulate your product or service anyway. After all, would you rather lead the trend or follow it?

Please do feel free to sound off in the comments, these are just my observations and I invite you to share yours with me below.

Keep the passion,

Hector

*Obviously I’m generalising and know many superb entrepreneurs on the island. You know who you are.
** If your name is Christos, I do apologise and obviously I don’t mean you… unless you own that shop across the road from that school, in which case, hello Christos and thanks for all those Mr Browns at that special price!

3 Replies to “What I learned from: Walking down a street in Cyprus”

  1. Don’t worry about people stealing your design work. Worry about the day they stop. – Jeffrey Zeldman

    There’s a reason why this quote is on the table of most start-ups, today 🙂

  2. Dear Hector,

    This is a very good Post! It reminds me a previous one about the “Jogurtization” (I really enjoyed the term :P).

    I believe that Competition is something that should making entrepreneurs happy instead of worry them. If someone doesn’t believe that he can make a great product and business than anyone else, then probably he should look for doing something else.

    With our team at http://atyourservice.com.cy we also had similar experiences (on a regular basis) with websites that tried to copy our model, our functionality, our design. This is good as it validates our market 🙂 Our most unique, strong and inimitable competitive advantage is our Team and the Execution we do everyday. This stands for every entrepreneur and startup team everywhere and on this island.

    Best Regards and keep connecting entrepreneurs!

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