According to management-issues (via A PR Guru’s Musings), a new HBS Working Knowledge interview with Assistant Professor Muktu Khaire reveals that startups succeed if they can acquire “intangible resources such as legitimacy, status, and reputation”. I buy that…
In that same interview she also argues that “mimicry of existing organizations’ structures and activities to a certain extent is essential if new ventures wish to gain legitimacy.”
Better yet is to find a way to sell a product that does not require the buyer to change the way they to do things in order to use your product – yet will transform the way they do those things dramatically once they start using it.
That being said, I am not sure that mimicry is the only way for new ventures to gain legitimacy. While it makes it easier to sell, there are radical new ways of doing things that have found relatively fast adoption – think search engine marketing, or downloadable music, snowboarding, just to name a few.