Karl Smith makes an interesting point.
a world in which gains are being created in ways that can be captured is not necessarily a world in which the poor benefit from those gains.
I like this characterization. I’ve been convinced that patents and intellectual property are not sacrosanct.
I work in the financial services where innovation does not exist, really, so maybe I’m biased. But I think that ideas are irrelevant because one can’t control their incidence. Execution is all that matters.
What has amazed me is that ideas don’t even matter in silicon valley. Have a look at Paul Graham’s essay on why startups fail.
Note that of the eighteen “reasons why startups fail” only one (#4) has anything to do with the idea behind the business.
And yet, our society is obsessed by the idea that genius is about a flash of brilliance. Here is an article by seasoned ‘valley’ reporter, who never learned what it’s about:
All over the valley, I’m seeing the same depressing picture. Kids who have grown up memorising the playbook of Mark Zuckerberg or Evan Williams or Dennis Crowley and who think that by literally imitating their idols, they too will achieve the same success.
The point is that he met a young entrepreneur that was building something that sounded similar to facebook. The “true lesson”, according to our wise correspondent, is that “it’s only cool when you’re the first one to do it”. What if this kid is the next supreme executioner? He’ll adapt his idea.
Ok, back to the original quote. If ideas can’t be controlled, then they’re random. Shouldn’t the benefits of randomness be bestowed on the world uniformly?
Is “abandon patents” so crazy?