Question Of the Week #43

Hiya SCG,

this week’s question is also illustrated by a picture on the left .Guys, I am asking you: Where is the line between creative meshing up freely available online stuff and “copy-pasting”?”

Let me share with you an example “case study”, which made me to compose this question and tap into our super cool collective wisdom. Here it is:

Last week I came across a slide-deck which was presented on one international conference. Whole slide-deck was: 3 slide-decks of other people put together…

I am curious to know your take on it. Why do people prefer to fill most of their slides with words of others and are abandoning a wonderful possibility to add their 50 cents of wisdom into the circulation to the world? Why do we chose not to start out with blank canvas? It is so much more fun…


How would you educate an author of the slide-deck? Does it mean that getting “inspiration” is copying whole slides and texts and pictures into “own” presentation and talk? What if giving up on starting with blank slides is impoverishing world by a creative genius which surely reside in all of us? What if breaking through this resistance, would create much better slide-deck than those “sources”? Why are we choosing this easier way of inspiration? How do you create your materials? How much is inspiration from already told stories and how much is your story?

Back at you now!

See you in comments, my dear creative artists and shippers.



  1. Peter Hanula says:

    Copy-paste is not bad. OK I can hear you saying “damn pirate.” My point is, lets say I use someones quote “my strategy is to do things.” I put it up on powerpoint and start speaking about it, using my own word, my own taughts, my own point of view. The red line lies between putting me into presentation or not.
    Another words, I am pretty busy, so I would love to have somebody doing my ppt. It is not my work, but I can talk about it forever. Because I feel the same that ppt slides shows. I use my time wisely.
    Best idea is to make your own ppt and talk about it. But we are not in a perfect world.
    And I can say that most of times I do not care about those slides. I am not good at making them. I am quite good at talking. A love to repeate it, say it more clearly, answer your questions, show you etc. PPT is just something like “ceresnicka na torte.”

    • Peto,

      If you are a better speaker, I would choose to opt out of slides and would just speak, there is no rule one has to use powerpoint. The best speakers simply stand up and talk. (I wish to get there one day, too)

      And when one is going to speak on international conference with slides of other people, I would certainly not call ppt. in such case as “cherry on the cake.”

      It is obvious, that you have not created designed slide-deck yourself, only then you would understand that it takes between 2 to 4 weeks of intense work to support visually what you are going to say. Try it out.

  2. Hello Ivana,
    You are right,to be origional in creating is more fun and interesting.
    I am going to create my first slide-deck. I will take care of all things.
    Thanks dear.

  3. Hi all.
    I think the line lies somewhere in your head and priorities tables. Exactly as Peter mentioned above – some things you have to “get done”. This doesn’t mean you have to make them bad, but you have to make them to have them done. And sometimes it’s also about the slides – well if I do find material that is there free available, and I like it and it fits to my thought flow, well, why not using it? Why spending countless hours to do something “differently” if it has been done and I can spend some time on doing something I don’t only have to “get done” but I want it to get done 🙂
    I know – if we would always accept something done by others as good enough, there wouldn’t be progress. But neither would we progress if we would get stuck in not using good things already existing around.

    So to sum up, I guess its about time and value you want to put in slides vs other things you need to do. If you have enough time and feel the necessity, you spend countless hours “fine-tuning” it your way. If you don’t have the time and don’t fee that need to do it “your way” than you don’t.

    That’s at least how it works w/ me 🙂

    • Sure, that is not a question to get work done, the question is do I want to stand out or I am fine with being average.
      I believe that SCG-ers are people who opt for being remarkable and that comes from shipping nothing else.
      That is the beauty of life, we have a choice!

      I am proud I have decided to learn from the best in presentation design and I simply cannot work any other way anymore.

      What is your choice, Marek?

  4. Oscar wilde is attributed to this qoute “Talent borrows, genius steals.” Many things have changed since he said this, the virtual world made it easier for folks to copy, a few clicks and somebody elses work becomes yours, one doesnt necessarily need to be a “genius” to steal. But yes virtual world does allow you to catch up with those who do this as well. And ofcourse, the response in virtual world is much faster, you could surely get a response back as soon as you copy someone’s work.
    Many ways who you in the virtual world is summed up by your reputation, being a “genius” could have interesting effects on your reputation.

  5. There are indeed many people who mistake copyright for right to copy! As it happens I think we all borrow from each other all the time. I am not stupid enough to think that my ideas are new. They are build on other people’s work and arranged using my own thoughts. But I do think there is indeed a line and the line is honesty. I do copy other people’s slides but always acknowledge them (in fact it would be really bad not to as it would be cheating my audience of other great people’s thoughts). It also adds to credibility as a speaker when you are acknowledging others and their work as it helps them understand where you have added value. SO yes steal with pride but please acknowledge and add. Thanks Ivana as usual for getting me thinking.

    • Thanks E, for your insightful comment.
      I loved the expression: many people who mistake copyright for right to copy, so true!
      I am so grateful for sharing your thoughts with us.

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