Steve Jobs was known for passionately quoting Picasso’s “Good artists copy, great artists steal” line. At first read that may set off your ethical radar and cause the hair on the back of your neck to stand up. As it says in Ecclesiastes, there truly is nothing new under the sun, so “stealing” isn’t always “stealing.” At least that’s what one of the great marketing minds of our time, Seth Godin, said in his BLOG a while back.
I’ve shared it below along with a link to the original post just so you can read it (and so Seth will know I read the fourth paragraph!).
Steal your business model. We don’t have a shortage of business models, it’s okay if you pick one that’s already working for someone else.
Steal your web design. There will always be enough people brave enough to invent whole new ways of interacting online. But unless you’re an interaction designer or your business model depends on something new, do us all a favor and use something that already works.
Steal your tools. You probably don’t need to build a new email delivery engine, a new overnight shipping method or a new way to run payroll. Once someone has a reliable, cost-effective building block, feel free to use it.
When it comes down to the thing you will be known for, your uniqueness, your gift, your thing worth talking about–don’t steal that. Writers shouldn’t steal words from other writers, and chemists have no need to steal the research of other chemists. Sure, go ahead and invent.
For the rest, honor those that came before and use their work as a building block for yours.”
A business model is nothing else than a representation of how an organization makes (or intends to make) money.” – Peter F. Drucker