Being quick to capitalize on what's happening in the zeitgeist is the mark of a true business person.
One fast-thinking clothing artist did it last night when he created a T-shirt using an image based on the UC Davis campus police officer who casually pepper-sprayed passive protesters during an Occupy Wall Street demonstration last week on the California campus.
The incident, first broadcast on TV, went viral on the Web, and is now a meme that has Photoshop experts adding the pepper-spraying cop tosuch familiar scenes as Jimmy Stewart and Mr. Potter in "It's a Wonderful Life," and the Beatles crossing Abbey Road.
Then, when someone posted on Reddit a depiction of the cop spraying butterflies out of a can, calling it "Casually Butterfly Everything," people enthusiastically replied, requesting decals, T-shirts and more.
And someone complied. "I saw the 'casually butterfly everything' pic, so I stayed up until 1:30 to make this," posted the anonymous T-shirt artist. At first, it was made available on Reddit to anyone who emailed the artist. Soon, overloaded with requests, a shop was set up on Etsy, a site for craftspeople to sell their goods. Offered for $8, with $2 shipping fee, the shirts sold out within hours, with the promise that more would be available soon.
Not bad for a few hours work. One question: does the original artist get a cut? Read the thread on Reddit to see how a small business gets started.