Is anything really original anymore? Is it possible to create something completely original? Has everything already been done? In this episode Richie and I seek to answer these questions.
What is Original?
Original means that it is the first time something has ever existed. Well, nothing is original anymore. But that’s okay. It does sound kinda depressing if you think about it but the key is to change your perspective. Any time anyone plays any note on any musical instrument, that note has been played before. Even if this is the first time anyone has played the trumpet, and they played a concert B-flat, that note has been played before. That’s been heard before, it’s just on a different instrument and it sounds like a different instrument. So it could get kind of depressing when you think about it like that.
The important way to think about it is that these things that get derived from other things can still be original. This could be the first time anyone has put this different instruments together and played a piece of music that is in this style. Maybe that style has been played before on other instruments. But this is the first time that it happened for this and in this situation with these specific pieces and components. And that in it of itself is original.
How can this help my shop?
The whole point of this is that even if you have this mindset that nothing is original anymore and everything is a derivative of something else; don’t get caught up in that. When you’re making something, don’t feel like it has to be something that’s never been done before.
If you see something somewhere else that is sort of similar to what you want to make, try to make it original. Make it your own. To make it original doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch and start all over again and come up with something that is never been seen before anywhere else. It’s okay to take something that someone else is doing and make changes to it to make it your own. Make it better than you think they’re doing it. Maybe make it fit a slightly different niche than they are targeting with their product.
The Problem with People Copying Other People
Copiers will never be innovators themselves. They will be stuck in a ‘copying rut’. So if someone does copy your stuff – it sucks and they are horrible people. But they also will never have the originality that you have which drove you to do this and that, and it will drive your future further and further beyond what they could ever do. You will always be ahead!
But how do I differentiate?
With all these being said, differentiation, iterating on and adding your own ideas to things that already exist in the world, is a great way to actually showcase your own innovation. But to get out of what we call ‘creativity blocks’; get out of the standard where if you’re not doing the totally next groundbreaking thing – then you don’t feel like you’re contributing. Sometimes you just have to take a step back and think:
“Here’s the thing, here’s the problem and the existing solutions; how can I make them better?”
Inspiration is everywhere. Look at things and look at problems you are passionate about. Anything anybody buys solves a problem. Adding aesthetics to things tend to be something that we really like in modern culture because we don’t have the same needs we used to.
Not Everyone Is Your Customer
A thousand true fans is a concept that pertains to art and music. It says that you don’t need to be a huge main headline band traveling the world to have a lifestyle supported by your passion in art. What you really need is a thousand true fans who are willing to show up every time you do a show, buy your CDs, buy your merchandise and etc.. A thousand true fans that support you because they love and care about what you do.
Stop putting yourself to too high of a standard, understand there’s always room for improvement, and add your passion to stuff. Even if it’s jewelry, there’s always room to go in a different direction.
Get out there and make things better. Make them your own, get unstuck, be positive, and see how you can change things for the better!