Copying Doesn’t Hurt Me, It Hurts You

Here’s the problem with copying: Copying skips understanding. Understanding is how you grow. You have to understand why something works or why something is how it is. When you copy it, you miss that. You just repurpose the last layer instead of understanding all the layers underneath.
— Jason Fried, Why you shouldn’t copy us or anyone else

What if your homebuilder constructed houses based merely on the outward appearance, with no attempts to understand the foundation, infrastructure or load bearing walls? They would have no idea why that one window was off-center, or that specific material was used in the kitchen, or why the porch trim is blue. The exterior may look fine, but the bones are rotten. 

Ultimately, copying doesn’t affect the person being ripped nearly as much as the one doing the copying. After all, rarely is the faux as compelling as the original. But when you copy, you do yourself a disservice. You cease to do work. You cease to be inspired. You stop trying.

When you copy, you never learn how to learn.