Is it stealing or inspiration?

Lavender background with text overlay "Is it stealing or inspiration?"

Sweet cream, cold foam, nitro brew — it’s funny how all these fancy coffee add ons have really taken off in every coffee shop.

But were they all just inspired — or did they steal it?

The other day, I ran into the Dunkin’ Donuts in the Jersey turnpike rest stop to grab my go-to Dunkin’ order (medium black tea with a splash of almond milk) and I saw all the signs advertising the add-ons I’ve watched Starbucks invent and market for the past few years.

The next day, I drove by a BJ’s Warehouse and noticed they had added gas stations, similar to the ones Costco added years earlier that always have lines wrapped around the block.

Isn’t funny how some businesses model is to just ‘copy’ what they see their competitors do? I guess they figure that the lead companies (ie, Starbucks, Costco) have tapped into a market demand – and they’ll just swoop in and take what they can.

But the copycat will always come in second.

Don’t believe me. The proof is in the revenue pudding:

Starbucks: $23.5B (2020)

Dunkin’: $1.3B (2020)

Costco: $227B (2022)

BJs: $20B (2022)

That’s a lotta nitro cold brew and foot-long hotdogs!

And while there are many reasons that lead to there being big differences in these companies’ revenue numbers — I think there is a big takeaway for us:

Being the leader is always the best move. The best companies innovate, they don’t imitate.

But in online business and content-generation especially, it can be really hard to tell when something is original to you vs. inspired by other people.

On the one hand, I don’t really believe in people “owning” ideas or certain concepts. On the other, I see blatant copying regularly.

I sat down and recorded a quick 20-min episode on Stealing Content vs. Inspiration: When Does it Become Illegal? for you on my podcast, On Your Terms™️.

OK now I have to know – are you a Dunkin’ or a Starbucks fan?! (Bonus points if you have a strong opinion on BJs/Costco – I know my Dad did!). Comment below and let me know! 🙂

🎙 Listen to Episode 105 “Stealing Content vs. Inspiration: When Does it Become Illegal” of On Your Terms here!👇

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