What is cargo-culting?

The term "cargo-culting" comes from people in the jungle who created fake airfields, because they thought that the runway would make airplanes appear and drop cargo full of supplies.

They thought that the foreign armies had a special connection with the gods, and were summoning riches this way by attracting airplanes. They didn't know or understand the reality behind where the cargo and airplanes actually came from.

Today, the term is used to describe copying something without fully understanding it, and assuming you will be as successful as the thing you copied.

There are so many examples of this - such as how creating a Google office culture doesn't make you Google. Having a free platform won't make you Facebook. Wearing a turtleneck doesn't make you Steve Jobs.

These companies had strategies which worked for them - and blindly copying them without understanding the underlying logic will not work.

Look at it through the users eyes, and you will find what is essential. What does the user care about?

Look at all the different sources, digest the information, and process it into an original idea.



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