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"The Imitation Economy" by Drake Bennett
Transcript of "The Imitation Economy" by Drake Bennett
by Drake Bennett WRITER FACTS B.A. in History + Literature from Harvard (1999)
Written for NY Times Magazine, Wired, Business Week and Slate.com
Currently staff writer for Boston Globe's Ideas section Bennett interviews Oded Shenkar about his book "Copycats: How Smart Companies use Imitation to Gain Strategic Edge." Shenkar argues that the market place is filled with imitators, and so even innovators need to think like imitators, and maybe even become imitative in order to survive. "But invaluable though innovation may be, our relentless focus on it may be obscuring the value of its much-maligned relative, imitation. Imitation has always had a faintly disreputable ring to it--presidents do not normally give speeches extolling the virtues of the copycat. But where innovation brings new things into the world, imitation spreads them; where innovators break the old mold, imitators perfect the new one; and while innovators can win big, imitators often win bigger." (p. 202) Bennett's Thesis If you started a business, would you like it to be known as an innovator or an imitator? Editing your exam essay: run-on sentences shifts in points of view avoid 2nd person Run-on: This sentence doesn't say anything very interesting, I'm just writing it as an example of how to spot a run-on sentence. The Future of Imitation Are these companies innovators or imitators? “Imitation is not only more abundant than innovation, but actually a more prevalent road to business growth and profits.” Theodore Levitt, economist and Harvard professor of business, 1966 What about these ones? Innovators or imitators? Tower.com "We hear so much about innovation . . . but imitation is at least as important as innovation if you really want to grow efficiently and make a profit." (Shenkar qtd. in Bennett 203) "This is not just something that should happen, it's something you have to know how to do . . . What's true for innovation is true for imitation: You've got to get it right." (Shenkar qtd. in Bennett 203) + Man "is the most imitative creature in the world, and learns first by imitating." Romanticism: new value on creativity and individual genius "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." 1860's 24 BC - 450 AD 348 BC (Bennett 205) Where's the shift in p. of view? The business world encompasses a wide range of disciplines. Business professionals bring disparate skill sets and backgrounds to the corporate environment, so you need to have an understanding of many different fields. Generally, avoid the second person ('you'). I (and we) you he, she, it, one, they emphasis on writer: for informal writing or using personal experience emphasis on reader: for giving advice or directions emphasis on subject: for discussing or analyzing a topic in academic + professional writing Exam Review + Drake Bennett, "The Imitation Economy" Bennett's history of imitation + innovation: The "fast second" "The other danger for innovators is that they themselves often reap only a fraction of the benefits of their creations, as imitators crowd in after. In 2005, the management scholar Constantinos Markides and the economist Paul Geroski wrote a book laying out the advantages of what they called the 'fast second,' the company that gets to a market just after the pioneer and can capitalize on the first mover's mistakes and limitations." (Bennett 204) Are you convinced? In a five paragraph essay (minimum), consider whether or not you are convinced by the author's argument or thesis. You need to identify that thesis and analyze how the author proves it. a) b) In a five paragraph essay (minimum), consider whether you are convinced by [a key idea from the article]. Provide a clear thesis and supporting arguments. Exam Questions Structure of Essay Introduction: it's an argument essay, so begin by identifying the position you will argue against. several sentences summarizing + paraphrasing the author's key ideas (or the ideas you want to also challenge like the author)
explain in a couple sentences why you disagree + end with a THESIS statement Body: at least 3 paragraphs, each with clear Topic Sentences + multiple Points and Proofs with them Conclusion: again, why do you disagree with the counter position? Why does your thesis matter? Challenging an Author's Argument Does s/he provide a range of examples to build an effective case?
Does s/he consider multiple points of view, i.e. consumers, providers, experts, or other demographics whether geographical or social?
Does s/he make assumptions about the topic that are not addressed?
Does s/he set up an issue as an either/or when it may not be a binary?
What is a counterargument to his/her position? Do they address it and give it its full say?