May 21, 2015

Repackaging of ideas

I find the repackaging of concepts and methods on the web to be interesting. Specifically I mean the repackaging of ideas in the productivity sphere. [1]

There are two instances which are of concern:

  • Repackaging past/common methods into lists to drive traffic and increase revenue on a site. Often these are Top Ten lists.
  • Repackaging past/common methods into a new method, creating a nice website about it, giving the repurposed method a name, and then possibly ending up talking about it on podcasts as if the originator of the idea (and without crediting those that came before and originated the various parts of the new method).

For decades, people have been trying different methods of productivity. Many things have been written, different types of paper/pens used, different types of annotations/metadata applied, apps created. Some of this has been done in private, some has been written, and some has been sold.

We all read productivity materials and try different things. Many of us want to share what we have learned to be helpful to others. This is good.

I have seen the use of -, •, #, ^, +, >, <, @ (and many others) used more times than I can count in productivity methods.” I’ve seen task and note lists done in many ways, as well as the carrying forward of items, the creating of indexes, logging, tagging, calendaring and on and on. Most likely someone has done it before. It is nice to give credit where credit is due and sometimes (often?) I see this happening properly.

On the other hand, when we use basic words like at,” the,” of,” we don’t need to credit those that first used them. Maybe all of these little productivity parts that are being repackaged are basic concepts we take for granted and we don’t need to cite original sources. Maybe all of this is simply the synthesis of basic ideas in different ways. This is also good.

I’ll finish by simply saying it is good to read, synthesize and share but let’s be careful to give credit where we can.

[1] I’ll not name specific people or sites so as to avoid being discourteous.

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