There is a remarkable documentary called “Everything is a Remix“. From Led Zeppelin to Matrix, from Grandmaster Flash to Picasso, from Quentin Tarantino to Thomas Edison, the video shows how, well, creating is re-creating.
See how it’s the same beat (this video contains the full documentary):
The act of collecting data, gathering what is of interest, transforming and applying your unique angle to it, and then releasing something new is considered creating (at least on my point of view).
You need to have some repertoire to create something – and as the documentary says, you need to copy and emulate to effectively get some of that repertoire. As Steve Jobs says:
“Creativity is connecting the dots”Steve Jobs
But still, that doesn’t seem so obvious when we speak about business theories. It is sometimes tough to see any explicit reference to the “former creators” on which the author has inspired himself.
I’m not trying to implicitly send a message to anybody or quietly rise suspicious looks on any author or theory, relax 😉 – just trying to prove a point that everything is in fact a remix.
Sure, sometimes there are so many entangled and deeply rooted theories and “someone else’s thinking you think it’s yours” that is quite hard to give any specific reference.
I’ve recently told a joke (in Portuguese!) found in a bit from Jerry Seinfeld’s 1993 stand-up comedy show (in English, obviously), and I felt that that content was original from my own brain until auto-proved wrong.
And when you’re exposed to many different business theories (I have this privilege by working with super intelligent people everyday, helping world-class founders, and studying a lot to teach), well, you start making correlations.
Let’s start with Growth Hacking (I’ve written a book on it!)
You have a cycle with 4 steps, Ideate, Prioritize, Test, and Analyze. The goal is to put your marketing and customer acquisition efforts into a more scientific approach, with short knowledge loops in order to collect feedback the customer and improve quickly.
You can apply this cycle on channels such as social media, e-mail, events, PR, inbound marketing, outbound sales, and many more
The Growth Hacking Cycle is a remix of… the Lean Startup.
The Lean Startup cycle was created by Eric Ries, and is used to build new products, services, and processes, benefiting from short feedback loops as well. We use it every day in our companies to create and improve whatever we are working on.
It praises to create an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and increment the product (or service, or whatever) from there, always based on what is working and not working from a customer’s perspective.
Also, the Lean methodology determines to do more with less, with a rational approach to resources.
But then again, the Lean Startup is a remix of… the Kaizen PDCA cycle.
The Kaizen (continuous improvement) cycle is used on Japanese production lines at factories for companies like Toyota and many others. It is almost the same as the other cycles but didn’t estimate that the feedback loop needed to be short in order to capture the most feedback possible.
Another example is the OKRs (Objective and Key Results) methodology. Intel created the method in the ’70s and ’80s (you can read more about it on the excellent book High Output Management by Andy Grove), but it exploded in popularity when Google adopted it (and we have another fantastic book in Measure What Matters).
But Google’s OKR is way different from Intel’s OKR (from measuring form to “aim to the moon and reach the stars”, there is some deep differences). Which one is better? I don’t know.
My point on all this is – if every business theory is a remix, why would you want to follow them without adapting?
Don’t fall in love with the method, but seek to find the main lessons you can get from it. Also, apply the Lean cycle to see if you’re going somewhere 😉