Early on in the development of Apple as a company, Apple was at a turning point. The Apple II had been released to much fanfare, and helped put Apple on the map. At the time it was released, Apple II was the "future" of computers. Jobs was intent on finding the future of the future, but he wasn't making much progress. Xerox, on the other hand, had discovered the future. In a way that it seems only Steve Jobs could do, he coerced the Xerox higher-ups to show he and his team a demonstration of this new product - the Xerox PARC. Never heard of it? There's a reason. Jobs and Apple stole the idea and made it better.
Jobs said this about this and similar situations, "Picasso had a saying -- 'good artists copy, great artists steal' -- and we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas." Creatives hate the thought of copying or stealing (especially when they are the ones being stolen from), but Jobs realized that he was doing more than creating a product, even more than creating a GREAT product. Jobs was building a business. To make a successful business, Jobs determined to build great ideas into great products.
What does this mean for you? What does it mean for a creative business person?
First, get over it. People are going to copy, take and steal from you...if you are doing something worth copying or stealing from. Yes, be careful who and when you share information with, but realize eventually if it's any good you will be copied. Most likely you'll be copied by your competition. It's going to happen.
Second, steal. Yep, I said it (actually wrote it...). Here's the stipulation - steal from outside your industry. Anyone can steal from the photographer, designer or musician down the street (literally and figuratively). Look outside your industry to find inspiration. Find it in magazines, travel, books, nature, music, architecture, etc, etc, etc. Okay, stipulation #2, because this is really what Jobs did. If you see a GREAT idea in your industry, steal it IF you can take it further. Xerox had a wonderful product, but tried to sell it for over $15,000 to businesses. Jobs took the same concept and made it available to every home in America for under $2000.
So there it is. Steve Jobs was a thief, and you should be too.