Monday, November 17, 2008

More on Lifelong Innovation

A quick followup to my earlier post: a short piece by Clive Thompson in the October issue of WIRED (16.10) also touches on the question of innovation among the, er, mature set.

Thompson raises an important point. I'm one of those people who feel that Google, for example, has measurably improved my quality of life. Perhaps one day LinkedIn will, too. And without the mysterious, magical Shazam, I would never have learned that "Feelin' Alright" was a Traffic tune before Joe Cocker recorded the version that unfailingly has me turning the volume to 11.

But what will really have an impact on my existence? What will change the world (and not just the printed map industry) in our lifetime? It will be the creation of cheap, renewable, pollution-free energy. Or a cure for diabetes, or autism. And in those categories, it's the older, more experienced entrepreneurs who will be more likely to be able to raise funds, lobby, and generally put together the expensive, resource-intensive, government-subsidized, multi-discipline efforts required to get the job done.

PS I was going to offer extra credit for spotting the bug in the snippet of BASIC code at the top of the article, but some other aging geek already commented on it. See if you can figure it out without sneaking a peek at the reader feedback on the bottom.

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