Martin S. Fridson did an extensive study of the world’s billionaires and created a list of qualities that distinguished billionaires from everyone else.
In his book “How To Be A Billionaire: Proven Strategies From The Titans of Wealth,” Fridson found that one quality all billionaires share is that billionaires copy.
People like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Sam Walton did not have to create an entirely new concept in order to become billionaires. All they had to do was copy and learn from somebody else.
Bill Gates didn’t come up with the first software to run on a computer. Bill Gates took other people’s good ideas about computer operating systems and turned that into an immensely profitable business.
Mark Zuckerberg didn’t create the first social network. Zuckerberg learned from MySpace.
Similarly, Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, did not invent discount merchandising. By the time Walton got into the game in 1962, discounting was already a $2 billion a year industry.
Sam Walton proudly proclaimed that he invented almost nothing. “Most everything I’ve done I’ve copied from someone else,” he said.
The key to Walton’s success, by his own admission, was his extreme devotion to copying other successful discounters. It was Walton’s ability to copy the best industry practices that allowed him to build the largest independently owned variety store chain in the United States.
Like Walton, Zuckerberg, and Gates, your ability to copy, to take what you like from others, will be the biggest determinant of your success in life.
It’s okay to copy something, put a twist on it and make it your own. Like the great artist Pablo Picasso once said, “Good artists copy, but great artists steal.”
Nothing starts from absolute zero. Remember what George Balanchine, the father of American ballet, once said, “I do not create. God creates. I assemble, and I will steal from anywhere to do it.”