This week while I was responding to one of the OJT applications, I found out one of the answers was an exact replica of a blog article.
The question was "What happens when you type an URL in the browser and press enter? Assume that you are accessing a typical PHP website. Please explain in detail.". The answer was an exact replica of this an article from a blog post from Medium.
It reminded me about a quote that was popularized by Steve Jobs. "Good artists copy, Great artists steal." And I responded to the applicant accordingly:
As I was organizing my thoughts for the email, it made me realize that there is actually no original idea. In some way or form, we are actually just copying our environment. This was best explained by Rico Blanco 🤘🏾 in one of his interview. https://youtu.be/AJR1NW_0ffw?t=158
If we take this notion into programming, for example, Rails. The initial idea of Rails was to create an MVC framework for a project management application, which is Basecamp.
Rails was eventually used by Github, a social coding application, then Twitter, a social network, then Shopify, an e-commerce platform. These three applications "stole" the idea of Rails and made it their own.
You can literally not tell that Rails was used for their framework unless you are explicitly told so.
Bottom line: It's ok to copy ideas. Just vastly improve it to make it your own.