Copy and Paste

In setting the context for today’s post, it helps if I take a moment to shamelessly promote the good work a bunch of us have started with Like Minds. Last week I went from having a great idea, commitments from some speakers, and the help of a really great co-founder (Drew Ellis, take a bow) – to having a kicking website, paying sponsors, expert panelists, and best of all, actual paid bookings. It’s been a momentous seven days or so, but it would’ve been impossible if I wasn’t standing on the shoulders of giants.

You see this past week I’ve written copy, created press releases, and masterminded panels, but none of this thinking has been original on my part. It has been a case of finding those who’ve already done it, and copying and pasting. (Thank you, Media140.)

Of course this isn’t a secret. In any industry, you first find your voice by listening to the others around you, finding out how you are similar to them, and then once you have some confidence, establishing how you are different to them. In the digital industry this just happens far faster, and the advent of social media has made this ‘adaptation’ way of working quite the norm as long as your attribute the original author.

There is, for some people though, something unsettling about this, and I want to uncover it. In my mind, it’s about this:

The Truth and Lie of Experience

There is an understanding that the person with experience is not at the mercy of the person without it. I agree. Experience certainly trumps theory, and my first year of business has all been about gainly costly wisdom where there was once just mere knowledge.

Yet a lack of experience does not mean that we are left without any clue. The whole point of parenting is to guide the child’s decision making by providing ‘inside knowledge’ of life. Fast forward twenty or thirty years, put yourself around some great mentors, and it’s the same thing – you are getting insider knowledge.

The amount of pain I’ve avoided, mistakes I’ve sidestepped, etc etc has been reduced by copying and pasting the experience of others. Sure, I’ve had my fair share of failures, and I’m glad I have – but I often wonder how far I would’ve gone without the luxury of borrowing others’ experience.

In turn, providing others with your experience is then what blogging is largely about. That’s what wikis are about. That’s what church and the Bible is about. Knowledge share. Experience share. Copy and paste.

The question, then, is two fold:

  1. Are you copying? If so, from where? If not: find people who you not only respect, but want to mimic in a small way. This means in person, through social media, through books and biographies, through documentaries, etc.
  2. Are you pasting? If so, to where? If not: begin taking time out to think. Map out your life and see where you could be pasting in advice and experience from others.

What I’m thrilled about is in addition to the mentors in my life, I’m also copy and pasting from wonderful people who’re commenting on this blog. In particular, Robin Dickinson and Jim Connolly. You guys are great.

Archived Comments

  • http://jimsmarketingblog.com/ Jims Marketing Blog

    Hi Scott,

    Yet another well written, very honest post.

    I’m still learning about marketing all the time; even after running my own marketing business for almost 15 years. I think most marketing professionals are the same.

    We each have the opportunity to learn from both our own experiences and also the experiences of others. By constantly seeking new, super-effective ways to get the right results, we give ourselves the best chances of success.

    Thanks Scott.

  • http://jimsmarketingblog.com/ Jims Marketing Blog

    Hi Scott,

    Yet another well written, very honest post.

    I’m still learning about marketing all the time; even after running my own marketing business for almost 15 years. I think most marketing professionals are the same.

    We each have the opportunity to learn from both our own experiences and also the experiences of others. By constantly seeking new, super-effective ways to get the right results, we give ourselves the best chances of success.

    Thanks Scott.

  • Scott Gould

    “By constantly seeking new, super-effective ways to get the right results, we give ourselves the best chances of success.”

    Totally – we find not only safety but success in our combined strength. I’m so excited to see where we end up!

  • Scott Gould

    “By constantly seeking new, super-effective ways to get the right results, we give ourselves the best chances of success.”

    Totally – we find not only safety but success in our combined strength. I’m so excited to see where we end up!

  • Robin_Dickinson

    Hey Scott,

    The coaching is two-way, believe me. Thank you for acknowledging our interaction, I really enjoy it.

    Copy & Paste got me thinking.

    I’m OK with the ‘copy’ part, but needed to unfold the ‘paste’ –

    P.A.S.T.E.

    P – pay homage to the source. Always acknowledge where the material came from.

    A – add value to the material. Extend the thinking, add counterpoints, references, colour, experience etc.

    S – share your success having used and implementing the idea/material. How did you use it? What results did you get?

    T – twist it i.e. give it a fresh twist with your own unique style and flair (as you know, I’m a big fan of acronyms);

    E – examine the material – test it against your own truth and map of the world…kind of like I’m doing here.

    So if PASTE includes some of these ideas, then I’m all for it. If PASTE means to just pass it on without any form of contribution, then we all miss out on the opportunity for synergy and even better thinking.

    Best, Robin

  • Robin_Dickinson

    Hey Scott,

    The coaching is two-way, believe me. Thank you for acknowledging our interaction, I really enjoy it.

    Copy & Paste got me thinking.

    I’m OK with the ‘copy’ part, but needed to unfold the ‘paste’ –

    P.A.S.T.E.

    P – pay homage to the source. Always acknowledge where the material came from.

    A – add value to the material. Extend the thinking, add counterpoints, references, colour, experience etc.

    S – share your success having used and implementing the idea/material. How did you use it? What results did you get?

    T – twist it i.e. give it a fresh twist with your own unique style and flair (as you know, I’m a big fan of acronyms);

    E – examine the material – test it against your own truth and map of the world…kind of like I’m doing here.

    So if PASTE includes some of these ideas, then I’m all for it. If PASTE means to just pass it on without any form of contribution, then we all miss out on the opportunity for synergy and even better thinking.

    Best, Robin

  • Scott Gould

    Robin, as always your mnemonics are an excellent way to remember and implement process.

    PASTE is exactly what it’s about – adapting, contributing, collaborating. Hopefully when the Like Minds wiki is up next week, we can really get some thoughts down!

  • Scott Gould

    Robin, as always your mnemonics are an excellent way to remember and implement process.

    PASTE is exactly what it’s about – adapting, contributing, collaborating. Hopefully when the Like Minds wiki is up next week, we can really get some thoughts down!

  • First thing I learnt as a graduate developer: don’t write a line of code until you’ve answered the questions “has it been done before? If not, why not? If so, can it be adapted to suit?” Applies equally to business, and learning in general. Good experience gets assimilated into the general knowledge pool. Usually takes time, of course.

  • First thing I learnt as a graduate developer: don’t write a line of code until you’ve answered the questions “has it been done before? If not, why not? If so, can it be adapted to suit?” Applies equally to business, and learning in general. Good experience gets assimilated into the general knowledge pool. Usually takes time, of course.

  • Scott Gould

    Great example, essentially: don’t reinvent the wheel

    And you are right, it does take time. You need to be observant, humble, inquisitive, have mental dexterity. But it is a well worth it life skill

  • Scott Gould

    Great example, essentially: don’t reinvent the wheel

    And you are right, it does take time. You need to be observant, humble, inquisitive, have mental dexterity. But it is a well worth it life skill

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