Friday, September 22, 2006

Innovation more diffuse than we think

Scott Berkun is researching innnovation for a book. I've mentioned that before. He has come to an interesting point of view on Gutenberg's contribution to the innovation of the printing press:
“Like many myths of innovation I’ve discovered in researching the book, it was socially and politically convenient for Western society to consolidate the development of printing under the heroic image of a local sole inventor, rather than the more accurate truth of printings development by many people primarily from foreign cultures.

The Internet age is filled with similiar conveniences in assigning credit for things like the Internet, the web browser, and the PC.

Who do you think is overrated in their influence today? And why?”

My money's on Dave Winer being credited for RSS. The difference is that in the internet age people find out about the concentration of credit much earlier (it happens much faster) and some people are just ornery enough to want to make a fuss about it. For RSS, my point of view is that Dave helped create a great platform, but a lot of other people took it beyond his vision to something much more interesting.

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