Bes over at The Reasoner recently posted a “bragging” post about why people like to copy him. It is the type of post that will leave anybody feeling guilty, whether they are guilty or not. When reading the post, I myself thought, “Hmmm, am I trying to copy the reasoner?”
One of the overall points that comes to mind when reading the post is the many times I felt that people have taken one of my ideas or started mimicking some of the things I was doing. Some people are of the opinion that if someone imitates you, then you should be flattered.
The Struggle for Originality
I believe everybody struggles to be original to some extent. But that originality will come at a cost. People will try to change you. World events might try to change your situation. The stovepipe you were trying to get out of suddenly encases you tighter and tighter.
How does one get out of a stovepipe? One must branch out. Explore things that are foreign. Come up with new ideas. Rebel against your own sense of originality.
Is Your Idea Important?
Of course your idea is important. But someone might have already executed your idea. Could you execute your idea better, however?
Google wasn’t the first search engine on the block, but Google executed the idea of search better than the competition. The Japanese also weren’t the first car makers, but their execution at producing cheap quality cars caused the American auto-makers to play catch up really fast.
The point is, your idea is important, but the execution of that idea is even more important.
Bes has some great ideas over at his site. And he may not have come up with these ideas first. People can steal (borrow?) these ideas and claim them as their own. However, unless the execution can meet or surpass those of the competition, then there isn’t too much to worry about.