Imitation is NOT Flattery

That’s right, contrary to what you may have heard over the years, Imitation is NOT Flattery… Imitation is just lazy theft!

Now, before you yell and scream and call me all kinds of names, really think about it for a minute or two.

Today’s post was begun as a way to rant a bit about people (using an Istanbul, Turkey IP address) trying to break into this web site.  I looked at my statistics yesterday, and noticed there had been several break-in attempts over a 4 day period… This occurred to a site with absolutely NOTHING on it, except a WordPress installation and the initial “Hello World” post!

You’re probably wondering what this has to do with either Mindset or Marketing, aren’t you?  The answer is Everything!

Have you ever heard of the poet T. S. Eliot?  Or the author Austin Kleon?  Or Austin’s book “Steal Like an Artist”? (Click here to get a signed copy for yourself, and no, it’s not my affiliate link, it’s just a great book!)

Here is a video of Austin and his TEDxKC talk about his book.

You may notice that (near the end), T. S. Eliot once said “Immature poets imitate, Great poets steal.”  Then he added, “Bad poets take what they steal and deface it.  Good poets turn it into something better, or at least something different.”

The Mindset part ties into Austin’s book “Steal Like an Artist”, in that nothing in this world is completely original.  We are a collection, whether we like it or not, of All those who have come before us.

And as T. S. points out, those less mature are the ones who steal and deface, which is what I must assume the folks in Istanbul were intending to do, if they were successful in breaking into my site.  They weren’t, but I have no doubt they’ll try again.

The more mature “thief” takes what he/she sees, changes it a bit or incorporates it, or parts of it, into something else, then puts their name on the “finished” product and begins marketing “their” idea to the world.

I’ll end this with two wishes:

  1. I wish you would go get yourself a signed copy of “Steal Like an Artist”, read it, let the message sink in, and then create the very best compilation of ideas you can!
  2. I wish the immature thieves would take the message to heart and create something of benefit to society rather than trying to steal the work of others just to deface it and generate a bit of money for themselves.  Add to the idea of “I Can” and make it “I Can Do Something Better”, then do with Your name, Your URL, Your WordPress installation… not what you’ve stolen from others and defaced.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Steve Jobs:

“Expose yourself to the BEST things humans have done, then try to bring those things in to what you are doing.”

A special thanks to Mitch Miller for suggesting the book “Steal Like an Artist” to me.


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