Inspiring laziness

It’s not hard to justify the importance of inspiration resources to everyone who creates something. Since creating is remixing, it should prove useful to acknowledge in the first place which samples, beats and lyrics you’re going to mix into your final hit.

This is why ad people read ad blogs, cooking enthusiasts read cooking blogs, graphic designers read graphic design and typography blogs, physicists read science journals and political opinion leaders read about politics. We should be aware of what’s happening in our industry.

All this awareness and inspiration, however, might just inspire us to be more lazy in the way we produce new ideas. If we all have the same references, won’t we ultimately trap our imagination on all this stuff we’ve already seen? Worse... won’t we try to replicate those same references in our own context? I’ve seen my fair share of “this is cool, let’s do this too” and it’s usually not pretty. Using case studies as the basis of our thought is not the issue here. Working just like everyone else is.

37signals CEO Jason Fried recently admited his model is... his cleaning lady. Now there’s a way to make a bold statement, and a good one at that (do yourself a favor and read the whole article on Fast Company if you haven’t yet). Now there’s a piece of advice you just won’t see on standard business blogs. Nor on cleaning lady blogs (does this even exist?). Cleaning the furniture seemingly has nothing to do with being a software company CEO. And yet it does, and it works.

What would happen to our ideas if 90% of our inspiration sources had absolutely nothing to do with our job?