Slack is far from the first tech company to steal the idea behind buzzy, audio-based social media platform Clubhouse. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are on it, too. The difference is that Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield didn’t pretend he was rolling out some all-new feature. He said the quiet part out loud—directly to Clubhouse CEO Paul Davison’s face.
Butterfield made his announcement on Clubhouse, in a chat with tech executives that also featured Davison. “I’ve always believed the ‘good artists copy, great artists steal’ thing, so we’re just building Clubhouse into Slack, essentially,” Butterfield said. He gave a quick rundown of all the Clubhouse features he planned to replicate on his larger and better-funded platform, and then wrapped up by quipping, “So look out for Clubhouse built into Slack.”
This, of course, is how most big tech companies operate. Despite the fanfare about innovative prowess, they frequently just acquire or copy new startups that come along with clever ideas. For example, when Snapchat came up with the idea of “stories,” short-lived photo posts that would disappear after a day, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter soon stole it. It was a baldfaced play to neutralize a new rival’s competitive advantage by cloning its distinguishing features—and it worked. There are now about twice as many people posting Instagram stories each day as there are daily users on Snapchat.
Originally published on Quartz : Original article