Be different. Do things the opposite of what people expect. That sets you apart. It’s a new age, an age of infinite splitting of big groups into smaller groups. Think of Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail or Seth Godin’s The Dip.

What reminded me of this was browsing through Leo Babauta’s blog Zen Habits yesterday, enjoying a few minutes to delve into something I like and miss too often, when I discovered his post Feel Free to Steal My Content.

Among other (related) things, he says:

This post is an official notification that my writing here at Zen Habits and in the Zen To Done ebook are now in the public domain. I hereby waive all claim of copyright in this work; it may be used or altered in any manner without attribution or notice to me. Attribution, of course, is appreciated.

I’m impressed. It surprised me, interested me and impressed me. I’ve lived on–depended on–copyright for several decades. I raised a family on copyright. I wouldn’t do what Leo did there. I do admire it, though.Copyright

Zen Habits has more than 50,000 readers. It’s very well written. It’s very well positioned. I wouldn’t have the courage to do what he did with that post; but it does fit the general style of the whole site. So maybe there’s a business lesson in that.

Surprising can be a very strong attribute of a new startup. Surprising becomes remarkable, and remarkable becomes word of mouth, presence and power.

It makes me think.

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.