… or are they inspired?
Let’s say they are stolen when they are not referenced and they are inspired when they are referenced.
Every artist gets asked the question: “Where do you get your ideas?”
The honest artist answers: “I steal them.”
How does an artist look at the world?
First, you figure out what is worth stealing, then you move on to the next thing.
The history of innovation is littered with people credited with creative ideas, upon closer inspection you realize that those ideas were actually derived from someone else.
Take Steve Jobs for instance, Steve Jobs has to be one of the revolutionary entrepreneurs, and he has been credited with a number of innovations.
Upon closer inspection, it is known that Jobs did not come up with the idea of the mouse, the original mouse was designed at Xerox PARC in 1981. When Steve Jobs toured Xerox PARC and was taken through a number of new inventions at Xerox PARC, he was brought to PARC’s personal computer called Xerox Alto.
Upon seeing the demonstration of how Xerox Alto’s user-interface worked and how the cursor moved around when the mouse is moved and how the click functionality operated as a command function, he excitely and immediately jumped into his car (I bet it was a VW beetle) and drove off to his offices, at the time Apple was a startup in Paulo Alto and instructed his team to drop everything they were working on and start building a computer with a mouse, which resulted in the famous Apple Macintosh.
Steve Jobs had the sense of urgency to implement someone else’s idea. He never wasted time on good ideas.
Many people have ideas, but they do not implement those ideas with speed.
Another interesting story is when Steve Jobs blamed Bill Gates blamed Steve Jobs for stealing his idea. Apparently Jobs said the Microsoft chairman is a ‘basically unimaginative’ person who ‘ripped off’ other people’s ideas.
This was funny because Jobs also stole other people’s idea. Anyway, Gates responded by saying:
“Well, Steve, I think there’s more than one way of looking at it. I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it.”
The idea of the tablet that Steve Jobs used to launch the famous iPad was not the original idea of Apple. Here is what happened:
One of the people who was building Microsoft’s tablet was friendly with Jobs’ wife, Laurene Powell. He asked Jobs and Powell to come to his fiftieth birthday party.
Jobs went to the party, reluctantly. At the party, the guy was telling Jobs about the Microsoft tablet and how great it was going to be.
This did not go over so well. Here, in his own words, Jobs describes what happened, and what he did next:
This guy badgered me about how Microsoft was going to completely change the world with this tablet PC software and eliminate all notebook computers, and Apple ought to license his Microsoft software. But he was doing the device all wrong. It had a stylus. As soon as you have a stylus, you’re dead. This dinner was like the tenth time he talked to me about it, and I was so sick of it that I came home and said, “Fuck this, let’s show him what a tablet can really be.”
Jobs says he went into Apple the next day and asked for a multi-touch tablet with no keyboard or stylus.
He got one six months later. Instead of making it a tablet, though, Apple shrank it and made the iPhone. Later on, they released the iPad.
Having an idea is one thing, implementing that idea is another. Those who are able to implement ideas with speed of lighting, wins.
Speed is the new currency.
For Jobs, it appears that great ideas are free, but make sure you file copious numbers of patents to protect your own.
Ultimately, what matters is the implementation, what you do with the ideas.
The Macintosh, iPod, iPhone, and iPad were built on the shoulders of others, but they also were put together in ways that reinvented the product categories.
Jobs knew that there are plenty of ideas floating around, but there is little drive and motivation for people to implement them.
The success or not of an idea is dependent on implementation.
Entrepreneurs should have the sense of urgency to implement their ideas now, not next week, not next month, not next year, but now.
PS: To learn more about how to come up with disruptive innovative ideas, register for the upcoming short-course starting on Wednesday, 15 May 2019. For more information to this link: