I finally figured out where the instinct to make B.S. copycat startups in Silicon Valley comes from - a misplaced sense of risk-aversion. Instead of confidently building the future, a founder tailors his company to appeal to the uncreative bottom 90% of investors. With their backing, his company will peter out over 24 months instead of failing spectacularly in 2. A worse outcome for all involved, but each step feels less scary.
I'd rather work on things that matter.