Piers pointed this out earlier this year and it's definitely made the rounds via Twitter and Digg and all that, so I doubt this will be the first you've seen it. (And something tells me Faris probably has this in his archives from years ago and is laughing that it's going round now/again.)
Great advertising and design have always done this—steal bits from culture and make them authentic to the brand/product/service.
There are a couple things I especially like from Jim's quote. The first is this bit:
"Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent."
If you've worked in this business at all, you've undoubtedly heard someone say, "We can't do that! ______ is already doing it." Well, maybe that's true and maybe it isn't.
Sometimes the best strategy might be to disrupt and sometimes it might be to steal. If you're doing it just like they're doing it, then it likely shouldn't be done. But as this piece of the quote tells us, it's o.k. to do things someone else is doing as long as you take them and execute them in your own unique (authentic) way. The key bit is the authentic piece. It has to be authentic to you and you alone.
The second thing I liked in the quote gives us a bit more to that. Which is this:
"... always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: 'It's not where you take things from—it's where you take them to.'"
This fits right in line with my belief that everything can always be made better. In a presentation given by Dan Saffer a while back, he shares (on slide 57) that some of the oldest things around that we use everyday in our lives now took hundreds of years to get to where they are and even then, can still be improved upon.
I think that if you're passionate about what you're doing and what you're working on, you can't help but do this. You won't be able to help but putting a bit of your own soul into it and that will come through. I also think this is related to why so many brands simply aren't that different on the shelf today. But that's another post all together...
So, to wrap this all up, go ahead and steal if that's the best strategy/approach. But don't just steal. Steal and make it better; steal and make it your own.