Wednesday, January 25, 2006


I like the James Burke Television series (and Book) called Connections. It appeared on PBS some years ago (around 1980 in Chicago), and simply fascinated and amused the hell out of me. He tells a story, following an amusing and informative daisy chain of innovation connecting some long ago innovation, such as the plow, to a modern result, which could be almost anything.

Blogging is like this, we all play the game. On the technical side we're aided by tools such as Google, Technorati, Blogger, Sitemeter, RSS, Wikipedia,and lots of other things I don't even know about.

The human side is much richer, and harder to categorize. We all have a mental list of authorities we've built up over time. Doc for blogging, Bruce Schneier for Security, Larry Lessig for Law, etc, etc. There's the communites such as Slashdot, Metafilter, BoingBoing, Digg, etc. All of these are heavy on human voice.

It all adds up to an addictive mix of discovery and learning when blogging works as a system. The ah-ha experience in the mind of a reader gets written down, then edited by the rest of us, and the cycle of life continues. It's fun to be part of this, gosh darn it.


So... here's the dump of links which I'll thread together...

  • Larry Lessig is a cool lawyer who wants to defend our rights, who decided it would be a good idea to build a Wiki to invite constructive criticism
  • Doc Searls functions as an editor, and writes a note about this new project, including it in the ever growing list of things that Doc is interested in learning about
  • The Wiki has a pointer to an article in the Harvard Law Review which turns out to be both very long, but accessable, and informative
  • I find myself reading an article in Harvard Law Review... ?!?!? I'm only half way there... and it's danmed cool, but it's LONG. Note: Adobe needs to add a provision to mark your place in a PDF.
  • The gist of it so far is that ideas should be protected, even if they don't qualify for patent or trade secret status... and it's a very clear picture that Arthur R Miller paints... he should definitely get some credit (or Whuffie) for this one
  • Meanwhile Doc bumps into Rick Segal, and suddenly Doc is wondering about how to disrupt Venture Capitalism...
  • which results in this post... 8)
My answer is to help foster a model where ideas can be bought and sold even before they are baked into products and/or patents. The arbitrary and binary notions of novelty and concreteness are harming the market. We need to rethink how we reward creativity, and build a fair and hypercomentive marketplace for ideas, instead of trying to lock down the future in shackles of "Intellectual Property".

If someone can help push this forward, then inventors can be paid fairly, without the need for excessive secrecy which corrupts the process of innovation, and prohibits full and open discussion of new ideas.

THAT is how you can disrupt VC... reinvent the whole industry. Get rid of the secrecy, and open the lid on this can of worms called trade secrets and non-disclosure.

If he can fund a lot of people with good ideas, creating a community that can build and share new technologies in a patent and lawsuit free zone, there could be a new virtual silicon valley, with much lower cost structures allowing a much more diverse marketing. This would allow searching a much greater part of the solution space for a given problem than is currently practical.

Just as an example, I've got his BitGrid idea I've kicked around for years... someone might be able to pick up and add a bit of commentary, but who would want to if it meant no reward at all, and the probabilty of having their added value effectively stolen when someone locked it up in a patent or 3 some years later.

It's time to rethink the whole thing, build a newer box. Like I've said before, it would be good to have a dependable way to innovate and prevent patents being used to steal ideas from their creators.

Venture capitalism is a smart network, but the value is in the ends, the inventors and manufacturers, and marketers... make the network as big as possible, as INCLUSIVE as possible, and you'll see innovation that will just plain frighten you.

Whew... that's my 2 cents.


1 comment:

Stewart said...

How do you put a value on participation though?