Swiped From The Best With Pride

A phrase found in TomPeters' ThrivingOnChaos (ISBN 0060971843 ). He uses it to describe the attitude a grocery store owner tried to instill in his employees. The owner takes the employees to competitor's stores and has them write down all the good ideas they find. They implement the best ones in their own store.

Most people, of course, suffer from the complement of this attitude, NotInventedHere.

The implication is that if you use a good idea from a great mind, you should take pride in that.

Also called creative swiping.

So if you have a grocery store in, say, Redmond, should you look for good ideas in other Seattle-area stores? Or take a field trip down to Cupertino?

Yes. Both. Why not?

The saying goes: Talent imitates, genius steals.

It's Picasso: "Bad artists copy. Great artists steal." http://www.thinkexist.com/English/Author/x/Author_3889_3.htm

This has been variously attributed, in various forms, to Picasso (see http://quote.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pablo_Picasso), Igor Stravinsky, T.S. Eliot, Sir Thomas Beecham and others. Other forms include:

I wrote some stuff for Orbitz and during delivery had to explain my process. When I mentioned that I had pulled the core threading routines from the Java Threads book, the one with the top on it, the customer was clearly pleased and commented on their appreciation of the text. When I mentioned that the JDBC connection pooling stuff started life as code from Professional Java Server Programming, the customer was unfamiliar with the text. However, they were still pleased to hear that I had referenced previous work and not just pulled something entirely out of my head. It's called code reuse. -- DavidMcReynolds

Compare CopyAndPasteProgramming, for the opposite connotations.

(db) There is also the concept of using someone's idea and going one step further: StandingOnTheShoulderOfGiants?.


View edit of April 14, 2010 or FindPage with title or text search