Scoble’s take on Douglas Engelbart, Inventor

Robert Scoble had dinner with Douglas Engelbart, the inventor of the mouse. Here are some thoughts that he took away with him.

1) Doug is a frustrated inventor. He was frustrated over and over again during his career by people who just didn’t get his ideas.
2) He says he has many ideas that he hasn’t shared yet. We talked about the way the system could change from how it sees what you’re paying attention to, for instance.
3) He repeated for us the creation of the mouse. Said they still don’t know who came up with the name “mouse.? That was the part of the dinner I filmed.
4) He challenged the business people at the table (specifically looking at Andy and me) to come up with a way to increase the speed that innovations get used. He didn’t say it, but his eyes told me that taking 25 years for the world to get the mouse was too long and his career would have been a lot more interesting if people could have gotten his ideas quicker. I told him that ideas move around the world a lot faster now due to blogs and video (imagine trying to explain what Halo 2 was going to look like if all you had to describe it was ASCII text).

Now imagine if he shared all of his ideas with people who would take the time to listen. How many ideas never leave the brains of people because they dont feel like anyone will get them?

What can we do to facillitate innovation? What if there was a place that we could share ideas without the fear of someone stealing them. A Creative Commons for inventions and patents. Any ideas?


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