Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V

Or Cmd+C, Cmd+V for all of you Jobsians out there.

There is sentiment in the creative field that we can’t create something that has already been done before. It’s especially prevalent in the digital field. This is likely due to the ease of search ability when it comes to what has been done.

Whenever I first found the drive to create this blog, I wanted the domain ‘nathanwebb.com.’ It was already claimed. The next domain I considered was an emulation of one of my motivational idols, so I sought out ‘nathans.blog.’ It was claimed. So I tried simply ‘nathan.blog.’The price was astronomical at $10,800 a year. I’ll tell the story of how I ended up with nathanisbusy someday, but that’s not the message for this post.

The harsh truth is that I’m not the only Nathan with a blog. I’m not even the only Nathan Webb seeking out a domain.

This has been a recurring theme. I wanted to start a gaming channel for my youth back in 2015. So I did. It was based on the Game Grumps, Markiplier, and whoever else I was watching. I watched them and then I copied them.

I grew up watching Whose Line Is It Anyway? and then joined and led an improv group in college. Why? Because I was copying what they were doing.

I started a Christian Rock band in middle school with my best friends. Why? Because I was inundated with Casting Crowns and Switchfoot and wanted to copy them.

As I reflect on these decisions, I don’t regret any of them for a second. Nor do I really see them as true copies whenever I see where they went in the long run. All of these inspired copy-paste moments have led to who I am today. And I’m still being shaped by the things I learn from those who inspire me.

This blog, as I mentioned earlier, is an inspiration from my favorite inspiring figure Seth Godin. Checkpoint Church was inspired by the very concept of the Comic-Con model. The first chapter of a serial book I started yesterday on this blog is inspired from several science fiction pieces that I’ve consumed.

The real difference between growth and stagnance through emulation is what happens after you hit Ctrl+V.

I would never copy a blog post from Seth. But I will take the inspiration of a short, consumable stream-of-consciousness blog and run with it.

I would never tell Ryan Stiles jokes during an improv show. But I will take his willingness to lean into the bit and collaborate with fellow funny people for the sake of a good story.

I would never create an entire YouTube channel with a Markiplier impression (okay, actually I could totally do this one, but I won’t). But I will take the community aspect of the YouTube model and allow it to form my understanding of where culture is headed.

The ability to copy and paste has been around since long before the advent of technology. Just because it is now so much easier to find others doing exactly what you feel called to do isn’t an issue, it’s a tool.

Learn from others. Grow from others. Take what is being done and consume it and then put back out into the world your specific spin on the subject. That way the next person can learn from your product and create the next one.

The gift of copy-pasting is that everyone can do it and should do it. Let’s innovate upon our innovations and see what the future holds for us.


March 14th, 2022