We all know music sampling. Like the song “Take Care”, which began with Gil Scott-Heron, then passed through Jamie XX and ultimately on to Drake, who sampled it and pulled in Rhianna for vocals.

Listening to all of its permutations the other day, inspiration struck — sampling occurs in startups, too! Like Fancy, which I blogged about the other day; it feels a little bit like Pinterest, Svpply and Fab all rolled into one. And Pinterest – isn’t that a little bit Tumblr and Polyvore? Obviously/ironically/interestingly enough, I’m not the first one to have this idea : ). After a quick search, I found Everything is a Remix.

The four part video series, produced by Kirby Ferguson, covers the phenomenon of “Copy-Transform-Combine” as is applies to songs, movies, and technology. Here’s Part 3, detailing how the computer came to be:

Also, here are some awesome sketch notes by Craighton Berman from Austin Kelon (author of Steal Like an Artist) & Kirby Ferguson’s recent 2012 SXSW panel: Everything is a remix, so steal like an artist.

Using Kirby’s Copy-Transform-Combine, I applied it to a few more of my favorite startups:

  • Facebook = Hot or Not + Friendster + MySpace
  • Twitter = SMS + Blog
  • Tumblr = Blog + Delicious + Twitter
  • Spotify = Napster + Pandora + iTunes + Last.fm
  • Pinterest = Tumblr + Polyvore
  • Fancy = Delicious + Tumblr + Gilt + Pinterest + Svpply + Google + Fab

This sampling of functionality, interface, and identifiable structures has allowed startups to earn quicker adoption, integration and utility. The most creative people have figured out how to copy, transform, and combine a wealth of ideas to create unique value.

What are some of your favorite startup remixes?