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Learning from thieves

Good artists copy; great artists steal.
- Picasso

Theft is a fairly common phenomenon in most parts of the world. But it is no longer as easy to steal something from one place and sell it to someone else at another place without doing much else. 

Thievery is turning into a kind of an art. A thief has to now tear down what he has stolen and sell the individual parts or put them together to form something else, or risk being caught. As identifying stolen objects gets more sophisticated, be it cars, or jewelry, or smartphones, the thieves are getting smarter in selling parts of what they have stolen with little chance of being linked back to the original crime.

While the freedom to do this with tangible things is limited to an extent, the possibilities of doing this with ideas, with creative designs for web and phone, is immense. 

There have been many great ideas and designs in the past few years alone, but merely copying them will only make for a possibly good enough product (given you can copy quick enough before the crowd has moved on to the next shiny thing). 

Instead, if you can steal them, and deconstruct them to understand exactly what makes them great ideas, what bits add real value to their audience (or to a different audience), you now have an arsenal of lego blocks that you can piece together in a way that has the best impact for your own audience. 

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