The parent of prosperity

Innovation is the child of freedom and the parent of prosperity. Matt Ridley – How Innovation Works I finished this in audiobook form today. Highly recommended as an overview of the impact of innovation and the messy process by which it happens. More from Matt Ridley: On Invention vs Innovation On innovation as gradual (feat. the Wright Brothers) On innovation…

Ben Horowitz on building companies: “the horror”

I love Ben Horowitz’s frankness about the struggle and mess of building organisations. Be encouraged. … there’s was a lot of focus on business models and market sizing and segmentation and these things, but when you’re in the company and when you’re building it, you know it really is about a whole other set of things. It’s about the struggle,…

Trillion Dollar Coach: Bill Campbell on putting teams first

Bill’s guiding principle was that the team is paramount, and the most important thing he looked for in people was a “team-first” attitude. Teams are not successful unless every member is loyal and will, when necessary, subjugate their personal agenda to that of the team. That the team wins has to be the most important thing. … As managers, we…

Matt Ridley on the Wright Brothers: innovation is gradual

… with very few exceptions, man-made technologies evolve from previous man-made technologies and are not invented from scratch. This is a key characteristic with evolutionary systems: the move to the adjacent possible step. Perhaps I’m exaggerating – after all, there was a moment when the Wright Brothers’ Flyer became airborne on the 17th of December 1903. Surely this was a…

Innovation as network phenomenon: Matt Ridley on who invented the motor car

So who invented the motor car running on an internal combustion engine? Like the steam engine – and as I will show later, the computer – there is no simple answer. Ford made it ubiquitous and cheap; Maybach gave it all its familiar features; Levassor provided crucial changes; Daimler got it running properly; Benz made it run on petrol; Otto…

Virginia Postrel on textiles and technology, nature and magic

Here’s a great highlight from a fascinating and very entertaining podcast from a16z: Textiles as Tech, Science, Math, Culture… or Civilization. Recommended. Sonal Chokshi: “We suffer textile amnesia because we enjoy textile abundance.” … Viginia Postrel: “This really has mostly happened in my lifetime – I’m sixty – where textiles have just become so abundant and so cheap that we…

Resource: The Data of Long-lived Institutions from The Long Now Foundation

This is an interesting set of pieces of information about the kinds of institutions that last a really long time, and the strategies that allow them to do so. Transcript here. A couple of extracts below to whet your appetite, and video below them. Which institutions last the longest? …There’s no system in the world that I’ve found that is…

The Atlantic on trust and on the remote working revolution

These two articles from The Atlantic are worth reading. On Social Trust The first is about politics in the broadest sense of “how we live together.” Social trust is a measure of the moral quality of a society—of whether the people and institutions in it are trustworthy, whether they keep their promises and work for the common good. When people…

Kevin Kelly on the future of progress and prosperity

Here’s a dose of optimism from KK – part of his excellent series of videos on The Future of X. It’s well worth checking out. I believe there are going to be another two decades of increased productivity, increased prosperity, around the world on average. That doesn’t mean everywhere, it doesn’t mean every person, but taken as a whole, the…

Amy Orben on tech panics of the past

In 1941 Mary Preston published “Children’s Reactions to Movie Horrors and Radio Crime” in The Journal of Pediatrics … The American paediatrician had studied hundreds of six to sixteen-year-old children and concluded that over half were severely addicted to radio and movie crime dramas, having given themselves “over to a habit-forming practice very difficult to overcome, no matter how the aftereffects are…