Connecting vs. Protecting Ideas

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Interesting TED Talk below, where Stephen Johnson makes the point that humans come up with better ideas when we interact with each other. The interaction leads to the overall best result. Conversely, keeping an idea to oneself leads to thought stagnation, because our experiences and genetic makeup usually take us down the same thought path repeatedly.

From a standpoint of computer networking, the greatest designs I’ve been a part of haven’t come out of my own head, at least not exclusively. Instead, they’ve come out of a collaborative forum, where a whiteboard and enthusiastic people willing to check their egos at the door resulted in a design that was better than any individual’s product would have been.

I’ll admit there’s a risk here, as glory-hogs can inflate their own contribution and/or diminish the role others played. Therefore, one person might be thought to be more valuable then they should. Generally speaking though, this has not been my experience. Folks are usually willing to give credit where it’s due.

Stephen makes the point I’m talking about around 12:08, and then tells a great real-life anecdote about Sputnik to bring it home. Well worth watching.

Ethan Banks writes & podcasts about IT, new media, and personal tech.
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