Am I being stalked?
I'm not sure what the definition of stalking is but someone is watching my every move and it is disconcerting.
I have always been generous in sharing what I have learned - people have supported me and in return I support and mentor others.
In fact I have just returned from a Global Experience Alliance event - where the eight participating countries openly share ideas and help each other grow their respective businesses.
Many of these businesses are younger than RedBalloon - it is exciting to be part of their journey. We contribute to each other, taking a similar concept to different geographies. We inspire each other - but each of us very much has our own personality. We respect each other. I invented experiences with balloons... that is our thing in Australia and New Zealand. The others have their own innovative approaches.
But what if someone starts watching everything you do? A woman has started a company, which copies the RedBalloon name, delivers experience gifts with balloons, she calls herself the Chief Experience Officer, has a dog as head of security, she writes a blog, Twitters and has a Facebook page, which all look so like RedBalloon's. Anything I do... or my marketing team do, she is there, watching, waiting ready to plagiarise.
I cannot see any inspirational thought, innovation or anything new.
So how should I respond? Do I stop writing, stop my public speaking, leave Twitter alone? I have to say it is really disturbing to see such a blatant copy.
We are all inspired by people, I am inspired by all sorts of people: Verne Harnish, Seth Godin, Emma Isaacs and Scott Farquhar to name a few. People who run big businesses and small. But all have original thought, innovate and do things differently.
So I am seeking your input, how should I respond to this? The woman is located in Australia but operates her business in another country. She has never contacted me or asked to be mentored by me. (I have, and do mentor many people as they grow their businesses). (I don't mention the name because even bad publicity is publicity.)
Am I just being paranoid - should I just forget it? Why is it so very offensive to me when I am so openly sharing what I'm learning?
Let me know your thoughts.
Naomi Simson is the 2008 National Telstra Women's Business Award winner for Innovation. Naomi was also a finalist for the Australian HR Awards and a finalist for the BRW Most Admired Business Owner Award in 2008. Also in 2008 RedBalloon achieved a 97% Hewitt employee engagement score. One of Australia's outstanding female entrepreneurs, Naomi regularly entertains as a professional speaker inspiring middle to high-level leaders on employer branding, engagement and reward and recognition. Naomi writes a blog and has written a book sharing the lessons from her first five years.