I like thinking about new ideas, like searching into the unknown unknowns, but I am now considering the probability that my mind has been focused on the wrong things. New ideas, any ideas, drive innovation only when they reach a point of public consciousness that makes them profitable to whomever brings them to the marketplace. If you can’t sell something, it’s worthless. When something becomes economically feasible that is when it will be produced. If it can’t be produced at a price that someone is willing to pay, then it will soon go out of production. A new idea spoken to your friends at a coffee shop will endure for a few minutes. Occasionally someone will pick up on an idea, but probably only the one who first thought of it, and people who think up ideas generally don’t pursue their physical embodiment.
I have been reading books by Jim Collins, and his conclusion is that getting a group of people together who are eager to produce something generally precedes specific thoughts about any particular product. Even after a company is doing well he claims, and demonstrates, that having the right people who are self-motivated to create the products the company is promoting is more important than the specific products.
Over the years I have known people who have had the opposite ideas from me, more in agreement with Collins, and they have become world-famous. When I knew them they were interested in getting people together to help them do things. I have always been too independent minded to join anything, and even when I did join an organization, I always departed needlessly, even when I was doing spectacularly well. I have changed that behavior since moving to Bend, Oregon, because there isn’t as much intellectual foment as there was in Berkeley, where I lived for fifty years.
In order to have any fun at all in Bend, it is necessary to join whatever there is, but there is a downside, and that is this community isn’t on the bleeding edge of ideas, it isn’t even on the cutting edge. Don’t get me wrong—I love the culture here, but it is one of getting into the flow that the world is experiencing globally. The primary flow here is physical culture, rather than intellectual culture. Of course I knew that when I moved here, but it isn’t because the people here don’t think, or don’t act on their thoughts; it’s because they don’t act on their thoughts in such a way that their actions will enter the world stage of ideas.
To enter the world stage requires doing so economically. If you can’t sell an idea for money – it’s worthless.