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Mass Innovation and Disruptive Change 194

Posted by Zonk
from the look-to-the-internets-for-inspiration dept.
bart_scriv writes "The new head of MIT's Media lab argues that societal advances, previously the domain of a small group of individuals, will now become the product of millions of people due to changes in education and technology. He also offers advice to would be start-ups and entrepreneurs, including an argument against instrumentalism: 'The successful will look for fundamental disruptive change.'" There sure do seem to be a lot of creative people doing projects on the web today. What do you folks think of this?
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Mass Innovation and Disruptive Change

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  • Well (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AoT (107216) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @02:37PM (#14898897) Homepage Journal
    As much as I hate the term, blogs seem to be an opening manifestation of this. Just like there are a whole lot of people out there who can write but, up til now have had no method of publishing, there are a lot of really amazing ideas out there that just plain never get heard or implemented. Open source has changed that a bit, but I expect it to start snowballing sooner rather than later.
    • As much as I hate the term, blogs seem to be an opening manifestation of this.
      I'm right there with you. Seeing "manifestation" every five minutes gets on my nerves too.
    • Re:Well (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ChrisGilliard (913445) <christopher.gilliard@NoSPaM.gmail.com> on Saturday March 11, 2006 @03:18PM (#14899050) Homepage
      Yes, I believe we're at the early stages of adopting the internet. Kids already know how to use the internet better than their parents. As people grow up using the internet there will be extrodinary breakthroughs of capabilities. Currently, there are only 1 billion (of the total 6 billion people on the planet) that use the internet. Almost all these people have dial up connections and are still relativly inexperienced. The don't read Slashdot or digg.com or go to flickr.com or myspace. They don't have a blog at blogspot. Imagine when we have 6 billion people with high speed connections that do all these things and more. The impacts on society will be incredible and this WILL happen.
    • You are delusional. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by elucido (870205)
      The more disruption you do with this technology, the more laws will be created to reverse the disruption. You can have any technology you want, and it's not going to change that fact that unless the internet promotes conservative values, and respects the fact that people don't want disruption, then the result will be a less free internet.

      If your goal is to have more freedom, you'll want to govern the internet properly yourself, otherwise the internet will be governed the way everything else is governed. The
  • by gkuz (706134) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @02:37PM (#14898900)
    There sure do seem to be a lot of creative people doing projects on the web today. What do you folks think of this?

    Seems to me they're far outnumbered by the un-creative people.

    Concepts like "good design" and "good programming" are skills that take training, practice and work. Woodworking tools are cheap, ubiquitous and far more capable than what was available 20, 40 or 60 years ago. Where are all the people building beautiful, elegant and functional furniture?

    • by kfg (145172)
      Woodworking tools are cheap, ubiquitous and far more capable than what was available 20, 40 or 60 years ago.

      Well, with the possible exception of the power router I might argue with this, but I think I'll just restrain myself to the opinion that musical composition would be a better example.

      Nowadays you don't even have to bother learning to play even a simple instrument to compose. Just type some ABC notation (plain, tagfree ASCII text) into a computer and let the computer convert it to midi.

      Anyone can compo
      • Well, with the possible exception of the power router I might argue with this

        Biscuit joiners? Laser-guided compound miter saws?

        But you're right, the analogy was strained, and the music-composition case would have been a much better one with which to lead. What cost Frank Zappa tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of dollars in the 1980's can be had by any interested amateur today. Where are all the musical geniuses?

    • Woodworking tools require money and, more importantly, space.

      • Computers aren't exactly free either, and while you can get small form factor ones (eg laptops), my desk is fairly large...
        • True, but a table saw, band saw, workbecnch, etc, take up significantly more space, especially considering the sawdust that makes a workshop incompatible with a living room space unlike a computer. As somone living in an apartment but wanting a workshop, this is a bit frustrating.

        • Once you've buy a computer, you can get a lot of use out of it with minimal extra expense. I guess an internet connection is the only significant reoccurring cost, but it's not too bad. Electricity also, but you're going to be going through it pretty quickly with a woodshop as well, so we'll just ignore that. But anyways, creating software(or graphics/music/writing/whatever) yourself requires only time and focus, there are plenty of free tools, and you can write 5 lines of code or 500,000 without spending
    • I have a late-1930s drill press in my basement. Purchased by my great-grandfather. Almost 70 years old. I replaced the power cord, and need to investigate why the return spring doesn't work; it may need replacing as well.

      A modern drill press is only a tiny bit more capable; I have to move a belt across pulleys to change its speed, while modern ones have electronic speed controls.

      The story is the same for lathes. Table saws have seen little change; they're not even variable speed.

      Woodworking tools are fa
    • Yes. You, also, are correct.

      There IS a lot of noise along with signal. The point of signal is that it outlasts noise. This is how natural selection works; the more variation you can get, the more fitness you can squeeze out of the patterns.

      Is it so hard to believe that there aren't lots of private carpenters who've benefitted from the steady decline of carpentry tool prices? Yes, there are a lot of bad amateurs, there too, but, just like the web, there are probably many highly skilled craftsman who would ot
    • Where are all the people building beautiful, elegant and functional furniture?

      Did you check Google [google.com]?
    • Woodworking tools are cheap, ubiquitous and far more capable than what was available 20, 40 or 60 years ago. Where are all the people building beautiful, elegant and functional furniture?

      Um, that would be the third world that you are talking about - no one in the first world can afford to make their living carving furniture but they can make their living importing furniture made by peasants in countries without clean water.

      It's a problem of economy, not skills and tools.

  • That's funny (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 11, 2006 @02:40PM (#14898910)
    The new head of MIT's Media lab argues that societal advances, previously the domain of a small group of individuals, will now become the product of millions of people due to changes in education and technology.

    That's funny... because it seems to me that in the last 20 years education has only gotten worse and worse.

    The head of MIT's Media lab is himself specifically in that small group of individuals that is traditionally associated with societal change. And moreover he's buried far enough inside that group that I don't think he can see that America's educational infrastructure outside MIT is just plain crumbling to the point where the group of individuals equipped to change the world (or at least America) is if anything shrinking...
    • Re:That's funny (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ChrisGilliard (913445)
      Traditional elementry and high school education has suffered in recent years. You're right about this. But, college education has improved greatly. Also, professional certifications have improved. Think about all the people going to Junior colleges now to take classes. Like other areas, education is changing. Also, a lot of learning is done online. For instance, I learned css by searching on Google the other day. I've learned about many many topics by reading Wikipedia.org. Education is changing and traditi
    • Re:That's funny (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tablizer (95088)
      That's funny... because it seems to me that in the last 20 years education has only gotten worse and worse.

      My daughter's school is noticably better than in my day. Anyhow, I don't think school matters much in the US, to be frank. School tends to focus on physical concepts. The "physical economy" has been offshored for the most part because it is cheaper to do it there. The nuts and bolts are overseas.

      Concepts such as ebay are essentially social ideas. Social ideas are where the innovation tends to come fr
      • Re:That's funny (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Stalyn (662)
        So you're saying the US is one giant consumer herd. And those who can manipulate the herd the best will be the most successful. Sounds about right.
        • Re:That's funny (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Tablizer (95088)
          So you're saying the US is one giant consumer herd. And those who can manipulate the herd the best will be the most successful. Sounds about right.

          Not one giant heard, but many. Because of immigration and ad saturation, we are a fairly diverse test-bed for new marketing ideas. The best marketers hone there skills here and then export their gimmicks for profit, enough of it which flows back into our economy.

          After all, who historically makes the biggest bucks: the inventors or the exploiters of the inventio
    • Rosalind W. Picard, one of Media Lab's prominent research scientists, is regularly cited as a supporter of intelligent design [wikipedia.org]. The New York Times [nytimes.com] writes about the Anti-Evolution Petition [dissentfromdarwin.org] that "advocates who have pushed to dilute its teaching have regularly pointed to a petition signed by 514 scientists and engineers", including " Rosalind W. Picard [mit.edu], director of the affective computing research group [mit.edu] at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology".

      Can Rosalind Picard please explain how teaching Intellig [wikipedia.org]

  • True (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pHatidic (163975) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @02:41PM (#14898912)
    Right now we are going through another bubble I think with venture capital. Too many stupid ideas are getting funded. It pains me to see these new Ajax sites launched every day and to spend five seconds looking at them and know they have no chance of ever succeeding. At least they fail cheaply.

    I think the bottleneck right now is much more on the creativity and business side than it is on the hardware/software side. If you want to be a tech entrepreneur than learn business skills, you can always find someone to help you with hardware and software. Of course you need to understand what is possible, be able to tell the difference between a good and bad programmer, etc.
    • Re:True (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Tablizer (95088)
      Right now we are going through another bubble I think with venture capital. Too many stupid ideas are getting funded.

      Because of the pro-rich administration, the wealthy have too much money these days (perhaps at our expense) and so are using their spare money to go out on investment limbs.

      Generally good investors split their investments into 3 groups: Safe but slow-growth, medium, and high-risk. The high-risk end is essentially gambling money (but hopefully with better odds than Vegas). Thus, if you have
    • I'm not so sure we have too much money in VC's. I agree that we did in the 1990's, but there are far fewer ventures out there today. Most money is socked away in hedge funds these days.
      • Right, but the reason hedge funds got so popular recently is because they were deregulated so that they can invest in basically anything. Where once they were designed to provide a stable return on investment no matter how the economy was doing, they are now one of the riskiest things out there (if you want them to be). So when you invest in hedge funds, a lot of the times that money is going into venture funds.
  • by fremen (33537) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @02:45PM (#14898930)
    Isn't this coming from the director of the laboratory whose only successful prodcut is a glowing green ball that changes colors with the stock market? [ambientdevices.com]

    Seriously, what kind of disruptive innovation has ever come from the MIT Media Lab? Companies have put money in there for years and gotten nothing in return.

    By the way, looking for disruptive vs. incremental technology changes is complete and utter nonsense. Entrepreneurs look for where they can make money. There's plenty of money to be made in all kinds of places in our economy, ranging from mom and pop restaurants all the way up to the latest and greatest gizmo. Game changing technology might be interesting or it might not. The road is littered with companies who changed the game and then were crushed by other players.

    Money is made with smart market analysis that asks what do people want and how much are they willing to pay. Throw in a way to keep competitors out, and you have the beginnings (but not everything) of a good startup whether you make new fangled ball bearings or web pages. MIT Media Lab not required.
    • Throw in a way to keep competitors out, and you have the beginnings (but not everything) of a good startup

      Yeah - hurray for artificial barriers such as DRM, propietary formats and bogus patent bullshit. Call me naive, but openness and actually being better than the competition is the only inclusive tactic I'll reward.

      • by fremen (33537)
        I'm going to make a comment that is way out there for Slashdot, but I honestly and completely think this is true:

        The difference between an "evil" barrier to entry and a "good" barrier to entry is marketing.

        Take Google. They have a huge database of webpage information that they've spent millions of dollars gathering. Anyone who wanted to enter the search engine market would have to find an enormous amount of capital and gather those same webpages. Should Google share their internal webpage databases to an
    • Didn't MIDI start from a Media-lab project to record timings and velocities of piano keystrokes, and building a machine to play them back?
    • by dubl-u (51156) *
      By the way, looking for disruptive vs. incremental technology changes is complete and utter nonsense.

      The question there was about attracting funding. In that context, you're completely wrong.

      Getting startup funding is about offering 10:1 odds on 100:1 money. Minor, incremental innovations generally don't get you 100:1 money because established players are better placed to take advantage of incremental change than you are. But you can get the advantage with disruptive change because you can be more nimble th
      • Not every entrepreneur wants or needs VC money. It's entirely possible to find funding for businesses without going to a VC. It's entirely possible to create successful companies with personal equity financing (investing your own money) and debt financing (getting a loan). People do this all the time, and they make great products - some disruptive and some incremental - that make good money.

        Going to a VC for capital probably requires a technology with enough growth potential to warrant the associated ris
  • Disruptive Change (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NitsujTPU (19263) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @02:47PM (#14898939)
    There sure do seem to be a lot of creative people doing projects on the web today. What do you folks think of this?

    I think that looking where everyone else is looking is the surest way not to find disruptive change. If you want to invent a disruptive technology, the last place to look is where everyone else is.
    • If you want to invent a disruptive technology, the last place to look is where everyone else is.

      I tend to agree. What we're really seeing on the web today are frantic attempts at product differentiation. More ways to deliver advertising. More ways to aggregate content from one place on the web into another place. Attempts to turn buy-once technologies into "ongoing revenue streams". Yawn.

      If you want to do something "disruptive", look elsewhere than the Internet.

      What we really need are some new ene

  • What a crock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 11, 2006 @02:49PM (#14898950)
    I don't buy his argument. Very few people actually create change in the world. The rest just ride their coat-tails. Smart people are internally motivated - they would succeed in any environment - internet or not. Look at most source projects. Only 1 or 2 people do 99% of the work. All the web brings is a lot of slack-jawed wanna-be gawkers and mediocrity.
    • Re:What a crock (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dubl-u (51156) *
      I don't buy his argument. Very few people actually create change in the world. The rest just ride their coat-tails. [...] All the web brings is a lot of slack-jawed wanna-be gawkers and mediocrity.

      I disagree, on three grounds. First, what the web brings is more of everything, makers and gawkers alike.

      Second, innovation is synergistic. The first internet wave was much harder than the current one because we can now share so much more of the boring infrastructure stuff, letting us spend more time on the intere
    • ...the cost of entrance into that club is less and less having anything to do with possessing a degree from MIT or Stanford.
      • by pHatidic (163975) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @04:30PM (#14899306)
        A century ago people basically lived in one place their entire lives. Anyone could vouch for you so you didn't need a degree to get a job. Then with the rise of transportation, our new mobility outstripped our identity technology. Thus colleges stepped up as the new middleman to vouch for people. Basically, we regressed from networks back to hierarchies (networks are the most advanced form of social organization).

        But now with the Internet we are basically all connected, so it's basically like living in the same little village for your entire life. Especially since a record of what you say and do is kept on your home page, so you don't really need a third party to vouch for you. I can send off an email to the CEO of almost any company I'd ever want to talk to or work for.

        Also, the fact that as credentialism replaced learning as the reason why most kids go to college, the quality of education greatly suffered. Now it's way more efficient to just sit in a library and read books than it is to go to lectures. I learn more reading a book or two that I did from most of my classes at Cornell, especially since colleges use extremely low quality textbooks most of the time. Some of the textbooks they used at Cornell had advertising in them! Which wouldn't have pissed me off nearly as much if they weren't not only completely useless, but also filled with scores of blatant errors.
        • Oddly enough... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by C10H14N2 (640033)

          Frankly, I think the most significant thing undergraduate degrees teach people in preparing to enter nearly any field is how to deal with a hostile, overbearing, inefficient bureaucracy infested with sadistically egotistical ladder-climbing prats and their gaggles of sniveling sycophants.

          In that sense, there is some worth to going to one of the cushier schools, since they are usually the worst cases and you're likely to come out with a nearly superhuman ability to navigate mountains of b.s. that would suffo
          • Frankly, I think the most significant thing undergraduate degrees teach people in preparing to enter nearly any field is how to deal with a hostile, overbearing, inefficient bureaucracy infested with sadistically egotistical ladder-climbing prats and their gaggles of sniveling sycophants.

            As I've said (and been modded down for) before, paying your dues and working your way up the ladder is for suckers.
  • Gosh. Golly. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @02:52PM (#14898963)
    There have always been a lot of creative people doing projects on the Web. Ideally, the Web is the province of Creative People, delivering their creative goodness directly to the consumer and bypassing the middlemen, and the tech stuff is transparent, in the background. Nobody goes to a show to see the stage crew, although we know they are there -- somewhere -- and respect their contribution.

    Of course, the geeks built the Web, and were the first to know it was there and what it was capable of. As a result, the content of the early Web tended to be content of interest to geeks. That changed, happily, until the geeks developed streamlined means to manage and post new content, giving birth to 'blogs,' which are again dominated by geek topics. This too, is leveling.

    Now, an awful lot of creative people like to call themselves "geeks" cuz it's (still) trendy, and an awful lot of geeks like to call themselves "creative" cuz they believe it will get them laid. But the hardcore shakers and shamen in each camp know enough not to dilute their efforts by dabbling; they just count on each other to work their respective money-attracting mojo.
  • nope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sentientbrendan (316150) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @03:01PM (#14898990)
    It may be easier for the average guy to write his own song, blog, or whatever, but that doesn't mean that he is contributing to societal advance. Just because it is easier to distribute ideas doesn't mean that it is easier to come up with *good* ideas. If anything I'm worried about all the smart, dedicated, creative people in the world being drowned out by all the morons and hacks, who vastly outnumber them, but in the past were kept quiet to some degree...

    What you have to remember is that good ideas are not distributed evenly. Some people are vastly smarter than others. Vastly more creative than others. Vastly *better* than others by any way you mean to quantify better. You may have access to the modern equivalent of the printing press, but that doesn't mean you can publish the modern equivalent of the Principia Mathematica (either one).

    Blogs are an excellent example of this. Blogs are horrible. They allow people who are too lazy or too ignorant even to build their own website the ability to spread their tawdry and mindless blatherings to the rest of the world. People talk about blogs supplanting traditional news media in some ways, but this is true only because traditionally news media has become so watered down and useless that just about any form of media that doesn't talk to you like a child could supplant it. Blogs are *not* an improvement over a good newspaper... it is just that good newspapers are hard to find these days (the seattle times in pretty good though).
    • Blogs are an excellent example of this. Blogs are horrible.

      This seems to be the common sentiment, but I don't get it. I don't look at many blogs, and even then only rarely. How is their existence a problem? I think there's a misunderstanding that just because something isn't useful to you that it isn't useful. Most blogs are there for people to communicate with their family and friends. Just because they are publicly accessible doesn't mean they need to be publicly valuable. Should we restrict public
  • "Instrumentalism?" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by drdanny_orig (585847) * on Saturday March 11, 2006 @03:16PM (#14899041)
    Excuse my ignorance, but how is this an argument against instrumentalism? I mean, from a scientific POV at least, that means ideas needn't be true so much as useful at explaining things, right? Does "anti-instrumentalism" require objective truth? Or does it demand that ideas not explain anything?
  • by morscata12 (957674) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @03:22PM (#14899059)
    Disruptive change never comes about via the masses. Large groups of people thinking collectively (at best) move slowly; their ideas evolve and change over time. They have to be convinced over large spans of time to accept ideas. The masses do not innovate; they smash ideas down and then accept them.
    What the head of MIT's Media lab should have been saying is that there are a lot more people on the planet than there were before. With increased numbers over the whole and a constant percentage of "smart people," it would appear that smart people are on the rise.
    In the overpopulation of our planet, we are witnessing a lot of smart people being born. We are also witnessing a lot of stupid people being born. Although there may be millions of intelligent humans out there now, there are still billions of stupid ones.
    The group of individuals making the change is as small as ever..in terms of how much of the population they take up. And with more stupid people running around, change will happen just as slowly as before (try convincing billions that you are right!)
    One last thought - Those making the changes have always wanted disruptive change, but look at the results of their desires. Communism would have been a massively disruptive change (on paper), but once it was implemented, people were able to smash it back down into the monarchy they were accustomed to.
    • Inkorrekt (Score:3, Insightful)

      Sorry, but its true.

      Disruptive change never comes about via the masses.

      What masses. Masses are composed of people, individual units. Le Bon's contagion theory of mass psychology has been fairly comprehensively disproven, to my satisfaction at least. There is no group mind. Just because they are not assembled in a mob at this exact moment in time does not make them any more or less susceptible to crowd psychology (Turner and Killian's diffuse crowds), as in this case, the internet. Even marketing, t

      • The planet is so far from overpopulated its not even funny. You could quite comfortably fit the entire population of the planet in the state of Texas, and I don't mean three high, I mean a house and land each. The perception of overpopulation is a misconception.

        Finding this hard to believe, I did the math and came out on 115m^2 per person, which should be adequate for a small house and a nice lawn. There still is a problem on how to feed 6 billion people with only enough room for a herb garden each...

        Y

  • by SideshowBob (82333) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @03:31PM (#14899085)
    Most of what passes for 'creative' on the Web is actually just re-inventing the wheel, poorly. Taking desktop applications and putting an AJAX interface on them and running them on a web server. They're slower, take control away from the user, and have worse user interfaces and features. But hey, it's on the Web!!! Web based word processing! Web based calendars! Oooh!
  • All disruptive change will lead to, is a reversal of those changes. Instead of trying to change, we should take a more conservative approach. Most people are not looking forward to change.
  • I tried reading the article looking for the relevance of mere numbers in changing the optimal size of a disruptive team. I also tried looking up "instrumentalism". Making sense isn't real high on the list of priorities here is it?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The guru on disruptive technology seems to be Clayton M. Christensen. He is Harvard prof. who has written several books including "The Innovator's Dilemma". His version of disruptive technology is that established companies have a hard time taking advantage of it. It creeps in at the edges of the market and by the time the established companies view it as a threat, it's too late.

    The other thing about change is that it is usually driven from the top or from the bottom. It usually doesn't come from the mu
  • by vik (17857) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @03:57PM (#14899183) Homepage Journal
    As part of a team engaged in a disruptive Open Source hardware project (http://reprap.org/ [reprap.org] I have to say that the guy is almost right. Yes, advances come from large teams, but they need a small, dense and enthusiastic core to start the ball rolling.

    What is essential for a project to spread, other than being useful to the users, it the ability to replicate it on demand. With software, this is pretty easy. With hardware it is currently more difficult, but we're fixing that.

    What astounds me is the inability of the commercial world and economists in particular to recognise that there are ways of creating disruptive technologies without being limited by the need to make a profit. I can see a two-teir world developing before my eyes, with the commercial sector deriding anything that is not profitable on the grounds that it'll never spread. Software is so far the only exception to this pseudo-rule, but within 2 years the same will start to apply to hardware as multi-material 3D printers become available for under $1,000.

    Vik :v)
    • "What astounds me is the inability of the commercial world and economists in particular to recognise that there are ways of creating disruptive technologies without being limited by the need to make a profit."

      What astounds me is your implicit assumption that the commerical world would care about creating disruptive technologies for their own sake. Commercial companies are interested in making a profit. They don't care if the technology is disruptive, non-disruptive, or non-existent, as long as they can make
      • Regardless of whether something makes a profit or not, economists should be interested in how the technology will affect their market. As things stand, they almost universally dismiss any advance that does not make a profit even if it stands to make a major impact on their sector of the economy. This leads to a very distorted view of the future, to the detriment of commerce and society.

        Vik :v)
  • Oh, the irony (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dubl-u (51156) * <2523987012.pota@to> on Saturday March 11, 2006 @04:03PM (#14899210)
    There must be a dozen people here posting half-considered arguments about how the internet just enables mediocre people to blather, and doesn't do anything for the gods who walk among us. I'm hoping these are very cleverly ironic, rather than self-defeating.
  • Trends say otherwise (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Arandir (19206) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @04:07PM (#14899231) Homepage Journal
    The trends say otherwise. Glenn Reynold's new book, "An Army of Davids", is a good treatment of the subject. Here's my take:

    The Industrial Revolution was characterized by economies of scale. Large steam engines, huge factories, massive capital expenditures, etc. But this is the Information Age, which doesn't need economies of scale. Small is better, and the individual is rising in importance. The two centuries that gave us collectivism, groupthink and the centralization, are giving way to a time of individualism and decentralization.

    Software is an example. The old industrialist model of software development is to have rows and rows of programmers sitting in cubicles, each working on one small part of the whole. The model promotes outsourcing to the cheapest possible programmer with the required skillset. But that model is rapidly fading away, to be replaced with small teams and distributed collaboration. In contrast to the article's premise, innovation in software is routinely performed by individuals.
  • I used to think I understood what these guys were saying. Now, it seems like they are just spouting technobabble to impress the masses. To wit:

    Resist the current temptation to make incremental changes to attract funding. It might get you off the ground,
    Is this just another version if the new economy of the 90's? When we all threw out the basic laws of conservation, and thought that money could be grown from nothing. That we could totally recreate the economy in a new image, one in which customers

    • I attended a seminar on Venture Capital funding a couple of years ago by a local business group (this was well after the Internet Bubble "exploded"). A VC company made a presentation and explained that the VC's are only interested in high-risk, high return investments.

      So the idea that incremental changes are a bad way to attract investors (at least the VC kind) has been established for many years. It's not an idea originating at MIT.
    • This is just scary. Only the most undereducated or unsophisticated person thinks of a game as a way to kill time. Games are, and always has been, the primary form of socialization. The game teaches the kid, in a safe environment, the rules and expectations of society. Think of the games that small children play and the rules and expectations of those games. Follow rules. Wait your turn. Effort produces reward. As people gets older the games can help them release the animal desires though simulation of socia

    • We will undergo another revolution when we give 100 million kids a smart cell phone or a low-cost laptop

      I will tell you what happens when 100 million kids have a smart phone. They surf porn in class and chat with their friends rather than learning. But this is no different form pencil and paper. A kid can take notes or draw naked pictures. Their choice. Unless the smart phone or laptop meets a stated and funded objective, it is a distraction.

      No. 99.5 million kids wiill be pr0nsurfing and IMing. 500,000 kid

  • This is like art without talent. Their needs to a fundamental skill behind development or else their isn't much chance for it catching on.

    Who wants to follow a badly conceived amateur? Learn the basics before trying to play expert. It is like consulting without experience.
  • "Meme theory shows that the more information we all know, the more progress will occur. ...

    We can think of the human brain as a computer: a meme processing unit (MPU). Most of what everyone thinks everyday has already been thought of, but, occasionally, a few memes come together in a way that has not yet been processed and progress occurs. Progress never comes in huge chunks, only tiny advancements at a time. Like coral, humanity's knowledge continually grows off the existing base.

    Now, if you think of

  • Like first off, from what I've seen out there most VC's wouldn't recognize a free market if it ripped them a new one. How about skipping the VC's.

    Second off, copyrights are dead. Anything that approaches that cause will be a worthy endeavor.

    Third off, government backed moneys are going to die over the next few years (and all the programs, bonds, and promises that go along with it). Position yourselves to deal with that, and especially position yourselves in those old "barbaric" precious metals. How Iron
  • Wonderful (Score:3, Funny)

    by Metasquares (555685) <slashdot&metasquared,com> on Saturday March 11, 2006 @07:12PM (#14899957) Homepage
    I finally find an innovative idea that no one's done before, and some guy at MIT just blurts it out to millions of people one day. Great.
  • ...it's not the first time in history that it's happened. Massive disruption in the way knowledge is constructed occurred in Ancient Greece with the transition from primary orality in the face of the phonetic alphabet, and again in the 15th century with the transition from the manuscript culture to the print culture. Western society is again in the midst of a massively disruptive transition that began with the introduction of the telegraph (marking the transition from print to electric communication) and wi
  • Everything you know is wrong. Wasn't that part of the sage advice offered in The Cluetrain Manifesto?

    Sorry. Didn't read the entire article, but c'mon...

    (On the positive side, and FWIW, the only time I saw a working NeXT box was at the Media Lab...aound '93.)

  • The successful will look for fundamental disruptive change. So, would melting the polar ice caps be considered sucessful? I'll start a company to do just that, and if you want to join, I can also give you a great deal on a bridge...
  • Aha!

    "Arise, you prisoners of starvation!
    Arise, you wretched of the earth! ..."

Them as has, gets.

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