One of the things I really enjoy about the early stage technology scene is its collaborative nature. Companies routinely compete and co-operate and "frenemies" co-exist pretty happily.
Lots of people give freely of their time and expertise understanding that we are all part of a larger eco-system with many mutual dependencies.
There is a time to compete really strongly - and this is normally done by being faster and smarter.
I was shocked recently by the behaviour of one of MyBuilder's competitors - namely MyHammer.
This German company, with operations now in the UK has behaved in a way that is frankly very difficult to understand or justify.
[I need to declare a direct interest in this matter as a board member and investor in MyBuilder]
Firstly, MyHammer registered the MyBuilder trademark in the UK - back in June 2008, AFTER MyBuilder had launched their site in May 2008. Clearly this was an 'own goal' on MyBuilder's part and is a lesson to all startups to register your brand as soon as possible.
Then,recently, MyHammer initiated a
Following a strenuous complaint by MyBuilder, MyHammer agreed to take down the offending site - no doubt having hoovered up a decent number of potential customers. I would also hope that they would hand back to MyBuilder their brand registration and URL - the goodwill in which has been built by MyBuilder at considerable cost and over a number of years.
I'm interested in what people think about such practices and how widespread they are. Certainly there is no board that I sit on which would sanction such an approach to competition.
This is the TV commercial which is helping to build the MyBuilder brand: