You must steal to grow a business

You simply have to rob others.  It's a "fact of life" - the better you are at stealing from others the more likely you are to succeed in business.

[By the way when I say "in business" - I mean in whatever activity you are engaged in.]

From the beginning, humans have stolen from each other (and from other animals).

You see, when you have no money, you have limited options:

1. Grow your own (food, ideas, contacts...)

2. Go without (starve, give up, die...)

3. Beg from others (a noble art)

4. Barter with others (essential)

5. Steal (invade, make war, enslave, copy, rob...)

Today I'd like to extol the necessity & virtue of being a good stealer.

Obviously, unless you're good at stealing, you'll fail. You can't afford to be an "inept" stealer. To survive, become sustainable & to scale your business - you need to be a skilled stealer, a master robber.

The survivors in business have stolen well.  

  • They have stolen ideas - probably a load of useless ideas + a few gems
  • They've stolen intelligence & imagination from others [the precious few people who fit best into their schemes]
  • They've stolen contacts
  • They've stolen time [the one thing that's irreplaceable]

Yesterday, I got an unexpected phone call
from a guy I met at a conference about 8 weeks ago. We'd bumped into each other on the stairs of the Aviva, had a couple of minutes chat -  he had my business card. At 5.43pm,  I was busy when he rang.  Couldn't remember him at first. Hadn't a clue what he wanted me for.

He stole my time.  (I let him do that for a while.)  He wanted to steal my ideas & contacts - he probably didn't think of himself as a thief.  He didn't start the chat by saying 'I'd like to pay you for your time & experience."  [This didn't surprise me - but if I was a "professional" with a PA, he'd have had to pay me for the consultation - he'd have had an appointment.]

He brought me great value
- he helped me think through a knotty issue: what's the role of stealing in business?

You need help to build any business
- no matter what stage the business is at.

  • If the business is an idea in your head + a passion in your heart - you need help.  
  • If the business is a long-established family firm, employing 34 people with a turnover of €1.98m & gross profits in 2013 of €327K - you need help.
  • If you're the No 2 charity in your not-for-profit sector, you need help to become the best in class & do more good.

That guy needs to steal from me & others - or else his business will not fly.  It'll stay a dream.  It'll be a glorious failure, a fund of experience, a learning opportunity

- but it will not change the world. 

We know artists steal.  
The greatest artists rob unashamedly. Picasso did & said that.  Some great poet said the same: great poets steal words, lines, metaphors, similes, conjunctures, rhymes, rhythms, places - pens & surfaces if they need them.

Steve Jobs was a stealer.

The art of the thief, robber, stealer...  

[You don't think Paddy Cosgrave has build the Summit without stealing, do you? He's an arch stealer & more.]

There's a lot more to be said about this.
[The role of intellectual property in business today... the role of funding... the role of research in the identification of people to steal from... for starters]

The most important message I have to give away today is this:  

Practise your stealing skills. 


most importantly

Don't be inept at stealing.


I'll give you another blogpost about how to avoiding being inept (within 7 days).


Sorry for the problem with leaving comments on this blog built on Squarespace.  Their software engineers are working to fix the problem. Yesterday Customer Service @ Squarespace assured me they were aware of the problem + had prioritised it. They said it usually took 72 hours to fix such troubles.

You can leave a comment as a guest - but rightly you should be able to sign in to comment using your Facebook, Twitter & Google+.

Promise: I'll use Twitter to let you know when the problem's sorted and to let Squarespace know you're in the picture.  There must be no friction preventing you expressing your point of view and chatting about it here (when you feel like it).