Sunday, October 7, 2007

Knock-offs best of both worlds?

BoingBoing has this post about "MFC" a chinese fast-food chain that is a rip-off and mash-up of both McDonalds and KFC, combining look, feel and menus of both American chains.

It reminded me of this post about the Chinese car manufacturer making a mashup/knockoff of both a Mercedes, and a Chrysler (with a BMW-inspired logo to boot).

It struck me that people discussing these things,and I include myself here, are either struck by the scale of these things ("sure, knock off a Rolex, but a Mercedes?!"), or suprised by the mashup model being applied to something other than media or online businesses.

But why should either of these surprise us?

The scale of the operation to do a Mercedes knockoff should not surprise us when coming from the same folks that built the Three Gorges dam and capped off the Yangtze.

And with regard to the mashup model, well, why should that suprise us either? It's not exactly new here either.I'm sure at some point, someone said "How about we apply Ford's assembly line to Acme's widget manufacturing!".

So I guess what we are finding surprising is the combination of these, the blatant disregard for IP, the unabashed lack of originality, and the speed of progress. Either way it's fun to watch

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