For background, see my previous posts This Is Not Okay, Why>How>What and What It Means At Whimseybox and Standing Behind Your Work.
This morning I had a brief phone call with Sandra Oh Lin, the founder of Kiwi Crate and Maker Crate. I appreciate that she reached out to me, it was certainly the professional thing to do. She seemed quite nice and said she understood my ‘frustration’. She confirmed that they are behind Maker Crate and said the reason they haven’t put their name on it is because they consider it to be in alpha.
Essentially she echoed the response they posted here– they never meant to copy me or anyone else and that as a company that’s not how they operate, but acknowledged that they are “making changes.” I’m glad to hear it because continuing to do what they were doing would be both wrong and stupid. I have noticed that some of the content I originally posted about has been removed.
She also explained that tackling the broader art/craft market has been in their business plan since the beginning which I totally believe. Almost every startup starts with something smallish (at Whimseybox it was our monthly subscription) but has their sights set on a really big market opportunity. However, I doubt their original plans from 2011 had anything about using content to sell supplies by project. And if it did and it’s just a coincidence that their business looks so much like Whimseybox then it’s an even bigger coincidence that they then built a site that looks so much like Whimseybox…
(Thanks to the Wayback Machine for that image of our old shop page. I like it better now though.)
I didn’t/don’t have much to say in response except this: Hearing that it’s not their intent to copy and that it’s not how they do business rings hollow, because it’s obvious to me that my content (and others’) was misappropriated. So in my experience that is how they do business.
It reminds me of a great blog post by venture capitalist Heidi Roizen called The One Rule For Building Your Company Culture – your actions are all that matter.
Why did we forego the easy money?
Because, if you lie about anything in front of your team, what does it say to them about how they should behave when faced with their own dilemmas?
To me, it says, lying is okay. Go ahead and steal a hard drive if you need one for your personal use. And take your friends out to dinner and charge it as a business expense for a client who wasn’t even in town. We cheat, so you can too.
We did not want to run a company where cheating was a way of business. So we told the truth.
And that leads me to the promised single rule about building your company culture:
Your actions are all that matters.
*These are all just my personal opinions, of course