Talent imitates, Genius steals

Talent imitates, Genius steals

A very pertinent phrase for what’s been happening in the testing world recently. There’s been some high profile stealing or imitating of ideas and concepts but also some low key ones too. It seems we are in an increasingly competitive (and open media) world and those with the really great ideas are in grave danger of having them stolen. After all, there are too many testers and not enough good ideas.

But it really grates on me when the “theft” of ideas is so blatant, when it’s a straight copy, when little is done to even mask the fact it’s been nicked. Taking an idea and building on it, merging it, reforming it – fair enough I guess. Taking an idea and just running with it as your own – poor show.

Like the training provider that blatantly nicked Lisa Crispin’s and Janet Gregory’s Agile Testing book chapters for it’s course content, or the testing forum that nicked SQA heading ideas. But closer to my world is the “potential” borrowing of the Software Testing Clubs magazine content ideas. I say “potential” because it could just be coincidence.

Now, creating a magazine is not a fresh idea, there are loads of mags out there and there’s no harm in creating more of them. It’s a free world. It’s not a patented idea. But to steal the ideas, concepts and content of a fresh and funky new magazine and pass it off as your own idea would be just plain wrong. Right?

Now I do wish the peeps who appeared to have copied The Software Testing Clubs ideas all the best with their magazine.

I genuinely do. Because it’s a lot of hard work and it requires a lot of good content, good design, creative ideas and bags of enthusiasm. It also takes a lot of integrity to make sure the contents good and in keeping with the style. It could just be a coincident that their magazine forum post reads awfully similar to the STC magazine forum post. It could also be a coincidence that it also reads like one of my articles, it’s got my style and language tone. Coincidence indeed.

And maybe it’s a bizarre coincidence that the content ideas are also identical to the STC ones. And maybe the publishing date being the same is truly a coincidence too. Small world and all that. It is funny how the testing world works. Great ideas appear to come along at the same time. Well, actually in some cases about 15 days after others 🙂 …. but let’s not quibble. Let’s not make any accusations. Good ideas are good ideas. And good luck to all who ride with them.

It will be an interesting January for the testing community. Two magazines with the same intended content. Oh how we spoil you guys. Oh how you have choice. And what a lot of great choice you have.

I’m really looking forward to the release of the STC magazine (January 2010). I’m well chuffed with the content; and the enthusiasm and hard work that’s gone in to it will show through in the end. The design is awesome, the contributors are perfect and the funny stuff is funny. Very funny. And a big thanks to all those who have contributed or been involved in some way shape or form. Even those who submitted blatant copies of other peoples work (it opened my eyes to how stupid and underhand some people can be…even to the person who tried with two different (copied) articles….I salute your persistence.) And if the other magazine is packed full of similar cool content then I’ll be over the moon. Yet more great places to go for testing information and a bit of down time.

There is plenty of room for both magazines, I’m just awfully glad we didn’t advertise on the forum some of the really really really cool features in the mag. phew.
2010 will be an interesting year and only time will tell who is either Talented or a Genius.



P.S – thanks to Faris Yakob for the title idea. http://farisyakob.typepad.com/

16 thoughts to “Talent imitates, Genius steals”

  1. Great post Rob!You might not hve intended it but you had me chuckling by the end – saluting persistence! There are such things as “Darwin awards”, what about starting the “Dell-Boy Awards” (anonymous listing in the new mag?)I’d suggest a different title: Talent imitates, Skill evolves, Genius Gets away with it!

  2. Hi Simon,Many thanks for the kind words. I did hope it would be mildy amusing. You should have seen the email I sent back to the person who submitted two copied articles. It was tongue in cheek. The fact was they actually didn’t try very hard. Google search brought their submitted article back as the first hit…..by someone else. Insane that they even tried to pass it off as their own.I like the dell boy awards…..Could be a good section of the mag.ThanksRob..

  3. I think a Dell award is unfortunate. Hopefully these plagiarisms will fade away. I think the copy of Lisa’s and Janet’s work was the second attempt by the same people, iirc. The first attempt was last year about this time, wasn’t it? Hopefully they will be kicked out of their business and never appear on the scenes again.

  4. Hi Rob,2010 will be an interesting year indeed. I always wondered why STC and TR have so identical look, and now we’ve got a fresh new clone as QT. I share your feelings about plagiarism. – Albert

  5. It’s happening all over the place, in all forms, by all people.Microsoft China rips off Asia’s No. 1 Microblogging Servicehttp://blog.plurk.com/2009/12/14/microsoft-rips-plurk/

  6. Hi Markus,thanks for commenting. I think one of the main problems is that some organisations/testers are so desperate to make a name for themselves and to make money that they blatantly copy and I’ve yet to really see anyone stepping up and fighting this copying. I guess it’s a minefield of paperwork and problems which is putting most people off. I just hope the people who would have “signed” up for the courses or are spending time contributing to rip off sites realise early before they waste anymore time…..I do hope they get kicked out, but no doubt someone else will be along after to fill the space :(Rob..

  7. Hi Albert,Thanks for commenting. I think the look and feel is because they are all using the NING network which gives it a kind of generic look.I just hope the members of these groups start realising that they are taking part in copying other peoples ideas and stop helping out. That way maybe these sites (which I have heard have previously copied other peoples work) will fizzle away.Rob..

  8. Hi Anne-Marie,I like how you mention it as “‘honour’ of being plagiarized”. I do think it’s flattering.The person who sent two copied articles to the the STC was incredible. Explaining how these articles were written when they worked at X big firm, whilst bringing in X amount of money and managing X amount of people yada yada yada. Scary stuff. How much of this goes on their CV and is swallowed by employers?I just cannot believe people are so desperate to advance their careers that they would short sightedly plagiarize someone elses work. Terrifying. Thanks for commenting. You were right – no point in sending traffic from my site. Removed the link.Ta.Rob..

  9. Hi Tony,That’s legendary stuff. It does indeed happen all over the place. This is the first time it’s happened to something I’ve been involved in….. Thanks for commenting.One day, we will get to enjoy more than one swift beer together :)Rob..

  10. Rob,Great post and salute to you for that!First I thought of STC and QT have some “connection” thats why the look and feel are “alsmost” same. But now I don’t feel that way!You’re spot on that the day STC has come up with the idea of magazine; I saw same advertisement on QT’s site. Coincidence!!! Nah!!! I feel take others idea as a baseline but upto what extent, as if you don’t have people who can write good stuff for you!This create a negative “impact” on the testing community!Best Regards,Amittesting is my passion!!!http://bugteaser.blogspot.comhttp://theexploratorytester.posterous.com

  11. Rob,STC, QT and TR all are using ning service. So we didn’t face much difference of these three sites.I remember QT Magazine was planned 7 months before exactly. Why I am telling is QT Team member is a one of my friend’s friend, so I am telling you truth.I feel 2010 will be an interesting and great year for all software testing people. All the best guys.Regards,Siva

  12. Hi Siva,Thanks for commenting. the NING network does make many sites all look the same. This post isn’t really about that it’s more about the content.Thanks for informing me about the Quality Testing magazine been planned for 7 months. It seems the coincidences and similar sounding request for articles may not be a coincidence after all. :)ThanksRob..

  13. Rob,I am so exciting about STC & QT Magazines. How it will be …. ?I am also a member of STC; there are lot of difference between STC and QT. I feel STC and QT, two eyes of a software test engineer.My comments on STC and QT (this is only my opinion):STC – is not for beginners. It is only for experienced testersQT – is for beginner as well as experienced testersAll the best for both STC & QT Magazines.Regards,Siva

  14. This discussion is unending if it goes like anything/ if its going like how its going now.Its not at all about stealing content of anybody’s magazine! It would be a mere co-occurrence, if QT and STC and if some other testing blog/site/community (is anyone knowing the other names :)) release,discuss contents on software testing.A question to all :-> If you are watching a theme based movie, do you know that on similar lines this theme has/had been used in 50 other movies?. Even if you know what do you call it as?-> a copied theme based movie or a stolen script?Its a mere co-occurrence. 100 books written on verbal English communication contains similar references. What would you call this as? Mere coincidence or theft of ideas? Dear All, We need to understand that this world is so big, with so many people surviving around may have common ideas or things in there mind.Do you know the pioneer of testing concepts? If you dont then I would say no one has right to share anything on testing because that could be already shared testing concept decades ago. But this approach is just not going to help us!I would say no one can blame other person about stealing contents as long as they have strong evidence. Just chuck this discussion about who is great or who is pioneer of what! Be it a testing magazine or any testing discussion. Just explore yourself in testing world! Regards,~ Shirish

  15. Shrish,thanks for commenting. I’m a little confused about what you are alluding to though. At no point did anyone say that people can’t have like for like ideas. That’s inevitable. Read my blog post on “there’s nothing new”. I think it’s really tricky to come up with something new. This post that you’ve commented on is about detail, not ideas. Like the person who sent us an article that was a blatant rip off from another testers article on line. They copied it, pasted it and tried to pass it off as their own. That’s theft. And in no way shape or form should we, as testers, accept theft. I’m not sure whether you are against theft or not. I personally am against it. It’s wrong.Who are the pioneers of testing? Why shouldn’t someone talk about testing unless they are a pioneer? What do I do to become a pioneer? Who controls access to the pioneers group? And why am I asking so many questions?I also don’t believe anyone was blaming anyone else. Merely pointing out coincidences. I do wish both magazines the best of luck. I sincerely do. Thank you for taking the time to comment.Rob..

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