Good metaphors tend to show up in the oddest places. Maybe that's why we're often so surprised when we find them.
Most times we don't seem to expect delight from things which are "not our thing". Our references, after all, should be related to what we do, otherwise we're drifting and will lose track of that job we need to get done.
Except the whole point of thinking about new stuff is to precisely lose track and get lost in the jungle for a while. Only after that can we return to the civilized world, grab our lens and go back to focus mode. And only then we can aim for that closed concept, that crucial presentation and that game-changing strategy.
Yesterday I finished reading Velocity, a great book written by Ajaz Ahmed and Stefan Olander, respectively Co-Founder and Chairman of AKQA and VP Digital Sport at Nike. The main premise of the book is based on the learnings one can get from studying the rules of sports and applying them to business, marketing and brand efforts in the digital space. On a sidenote, the book is also a great lesson in agency/client partnerships (the way I see it, co-writing a book requires more than just a "nice relationship").
There's a point for us to create a true star system around our favorite athletes. After all, they do things that no one else does, or before everyone else does. And they do them in their own style, they create their own plays and make the stadiums roar in ways you know no one else could.
One can identify some of the best athletes ever for their trademark plays. Muhammad Ali combined graciousness (of his movements), speed and brutality (of his punches) in an unique way, and he also had the attitude of a champion. Lionel Messi is recognized by his seemingly magical ability to never let the ball go from his left foot. Usain Bolt... his name says it all and he's simply the fastest man in the world. Also, he has a fucking awesome celebration.
I wonder, then, why we work towards winning the championship by merely copying the tactics of others, celebrating what others celebrate, talking like others talk and scoring like others score. Sure, it may work, but at which point do we lose our identity? And at what price?
As obvious as this may seem, we should avoid the same plays if we don't want the same results.