Talking to Idiots

January 18, 2007 · Posted in innovation, strategy ·  

One of the traits of a great innovation is how obvious it appears once you’ve seen it. Unfortunately a lot of frustration can occur trying to explain the innovation to people who haven’t yet grasped the concept. Often it feels like you are trying to explain the innovation to an idiot. While this might be the case, if your innovation depends on explaining it to idiots you have a serious problem. Chances are that your idea will not become an innovation very soon if you can’t explain it to investors and it definitely won’t if you can’t explain it to customers.

How can you tell if the problem is with the way you are explaining it or if you really are just talking to an idiot? If the person you are talking to is an idiot, move on. But if they aren’t an idiot you are left with two other possibilities. The first is you aren’t explaining it very well. That can be easily fixed. The second is a warning sign that your idea won’t catch on. If your idea is too far ahead of a customer’s demand they won’t understand it. If that is the case you will waste a lot of time and money trying to bring it to market.

In communication sciences we have a term for this, its called rupture. Two people might be using similar or even the exact same words but using different definitions or making assumptions that are radically different. The meaning of the message gets lost in transmission. The context is as important as the code of any communication.

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Infinite Supply, the Problem with Copyrights & Patents

January 2, 2007 · Posted in abundance, copyright, economics, patent ·  

In a comment to Economics Of Abundance Getting Some Well Deserved Attention a reader complained that there isn’t an infinite supply of good books, good music, and movies. This is flatly false, there’s an infinite supply of any intellectual property and it can be mathematically proven. How is that for being emphatic?

Don’t fear I’m going to back up that statement and do the following:

  1. Prove there is an infinite supply of information.
  2. Show some reasons why Copyrights & Patents are logically flawed.
  3. List one form of intellectual property that is real and very valuable.

Digital media makes my point very clear. When you digitize a song, book or movie you convert it into numbers. And how many numbers are there? Infinite, you can keep counting forever. Computers store everything as a series of electrical impulses. We think of those as 1’s and 0’s. So inside a computer the music, videos, books and everything else is just a big number.

If you converted the phrase “infinite supply” into a stream of ones and zeros the way the computer sees it this is what it looks like:

01101001 01101110 01100110 01101001 01101110 01101001 01110100 01100101 00100000 01110011 01110101 01110000 01110000 01101100 01111001

As you look at that I’m sure it looks like a meaningless number. And that is the point. That phrase, “infinite supply” is just a meaningless number to a computer. Now look at this article. Up to this point it is 1,462 letters. When I save it on my computer it’s converted to a stream of 1’s and 0’s, it’s just a number. And like every number you could start at 1 and count up to the number equivalent of this article.

To count to the number that represents “infinite supply” you would pass “infinite supplx” and “infinite supplw”. You would also pass “supply”, “infinite”, “finite”, “in” and “a” and every possible combination of letters up to the 15 letter combination that make “infinite supply”. That is 2,954,312,706,550,833,698,643 combinations if we only include the letters “a” through “z” and blank space.
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Infinite Supply, the Problem with Copyrights & Patents

January 2, 2007 · Posted in abundance, economics, Intellectual Property ·  

In a comment to Economics Of Abundance Getting Some Well Deserved Attention a reader complained that there isn’t an infinite supply of good books, good music, and movies. This is flatly false, there’s an infinite supply of any intellectual property and it can be mathematically proven. How is that for being emphatic?

Don’t fear, I’m going to back up that statement and do the following:

  1. Prove there is an infinite supply of information.
  2. Show some reasons why Copyrights & Patents are logically flawed.
  3. List one form of intellectual property that is real and very valuable.

Digital media makes my point very clear. When you digitize a song, book or movie you convert it into numbers. And how many numbers are there? Infinite, you can keep counting forever. Computers store everything as a series of electrical impulses. We think of those as 1’s and 0’s. So inside a computer the music, videos, books and everything else is just a big number.

If you converted the phrase “infinite supply” into a stream of ones and zeros the way the computer sees it this is what it looks like:

01101001 01101110 01100110 01101001 01101110 01101001 01110100 01100101 00100000 01110011 01110101 01110000 01110000 01101100 01111001

As you look at that I’m sure it looks like a meaningless number. And that is the point. That phrase, “infinite supply” is just a meaningless number to a computer. Now look at this article. Up to this point it is 1,462 letters. When I save it on my computer it’s converted to a stream of 1’s and 0’s, it’s just a number. And like every number you could start at 1 and count up to the number equivalent of this article.

To count to the number that represents “infinite supply” you would pass “infinite supplx” and “infinite supplw”. You would also pass “supply”, “infinite”, “finite”, “in” and “a” and every possible combination of letters up to the 15 letter combination that make “infinite supply”. That is 2,954,312,706,550,833,698,643 combinations if we only include the letters “a” through “z” and blank space.
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