Dear Mr. Krach,
On November 20th, I saw that DocuSign blatantly copied HelloSign’s interface. We published a blog post about it and Fast Company called you out as well in an article titled, “$230 Million Still Can't Buy A Startup Original Design?”
Three weeks later, you are still using our designs in what you call an A/B test. This means that it wasn’t some aberrant product manager or designer who snuck in a copy of our interface. This tells us that DocuSign endorses copying as a legitimate business practice.
By not changing your interface, DocuSign has demonstrated that this is willful and deliberate. While you were spending time copying our interface, you were also busy suing SkySlope for allegedly imitating a single icon of yours. How do you reconcile this?
We could approach this like you are with SkySlope, but we’d rather make it a conversation and explain why you should stop:
- Copying hurts innovation and the tech world as a whole. UI copying is becoming a dangerous trend and one that inhibits doing anything bold. By copying we risk premature consensus – in a space that's not fully developed, there's still plenty of room for new ideas. Yet, instead of innovation being driven by a company that raised $230 million dollars, it’s being driven by us, a company a fraction of your size, with a fraction of your funding.
- Copying is bad for customers. Instead of having product diversity, there’s homogeny. As honored as we are that it's homogenizing around our lead, the customers are missing out on the benefits of differentiation. This may appear to be a step forward for the DocuSign UI, but it’s a lateral move for the eSignature industry.
- Copying is unethical. This is unethical and plain wrong. You feel so yourself. Why else would you take legal action against SkySlope?
In the event that innovation is important to you, we thought it was worth starting a conversation. Mr. Krach, I’d love to hear your thoughts. In the meantime, stop copying HelloSign. You have an empire of qualified designers, your own user experience lab and a couple hundred million dollars at your disposal - use these assets to innovate instead of copying us.
Sincerely, Joseph Walla, CEO HelloSign
Stand up for innovation by joining the conversation on Twitter.3 weeks later @DocuSign is still copying @HelloSign’s interface. An Open Letter to DocuSign CEO: http://bit.ly/1A5MY6m #ChooseInnovation
I also invite anyone interested in seeing the design of our product firsthand to watch the demo video. We're excited to simplify the signing process with our end user product and to support signature integration and embedded signing with our HelloSign API.