It’s been a rough past couple of hours for Josh Linkner, whose Twitter profile describes as a “New York Times Bestselling Author and CEO of @DVPtweets on a mission to make the world more creative.” Why? A piece he published with Fast Company a few days ago, The Dirty Little Secret of Overnight Successes, started out by using the opening paragraphs of Chris Dixon’s March 16 blog post, The Myth of the Overnight Success, and did not attribute it to Chris in any way. The Twitterverse is aghast.
A bit over two hours ago now, Chris Dixon sent the following tweet and link out to his followers. Josh Linkner (to his credit) responded pretty immediately:
But once folks read the post (below) . . .
The response from the Twittersphere was pretty immediate:
But you see, Josh isn’t just an expert blogger, as his title on the Fast Company piece in question describes – and he isn’t just a NYT bestselling author and CEO, Josh “has been honored as the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, the Detroit News Michiganian of the Year, and is a President Barack Obama Champion of Change award recipient. Josh is a regular columnist for Fast Company and Inc. Magazine, and his work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, and The New York Times.”
Sounds like a man more suited to be a TED presenter rather than someone you’d expect to be accused of plagiarism, right? Oh yeah, he spoke at TED too – he was this year’s keynote:
This whole drama demonstrates the the beauty of (and what’s super scary about) Twitter – even the mighty can be called out and stories spread like wildfire. No doubt Josh will soon post a screenshot of the excerpt from his friend, as was suggested in response to his apology to Chris Dixon in the comments of the post calling him out. (You can read Chris’s post and the comments in their entirety here.)
But this should serve as a lesson to us all: if someone contributes amazing insight to a piece and you use it verbatim, even if it’s a friend, attributing it to that person is always a good idea. And if they say “no attribution necessary” consider not using it or researching the crap out of it to be sure it was really theirs to offer.
So what do you make of this? Have you ever found yourself on either end of a situation like this? And how did it turn out?
(Thumbs down group photo from Shutterstock)