RE: ply to Grant

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Thu Feb 07 2002 - 16:01:49 GMT

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    Subject: RE: ply to Grant
    Date: Thu, 07 Feb 2002 08:01:49 -0800
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    >From: Vincent Campbell <>
    >To: "''" <>
    >Subject: RE: ply to Grant
    >Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2002 13:44:05 -0000
    > <All memes are built on memes that existed before. It's the new
    >combination of old ideas that produces new culture. SO I can't see that
    >changes Henry Ford made to the manufacturing process are somehow not his
    >work. It sounds a lot like picking nits to me. Sure, he took the ideas of
    >other men and used them to create his own culture of making cars. But
    >nobody else put it all together exactly the same we he did. It's the total
    >package that was new, not the individual ideas that went into it.>
    > That's not what I was saying. What I was saying was that those that
    >develop new technologies do not invent the socio-cultural and
    >politico-economic consequences of the things they produce. Those things
    >stem from how people in a culture use that technology. I'll give you an
    >example- cinema. Cinema today is primarily a medium used for fiction, but
    >nothing in the technology itself requires film to be used for fiction.
    >before television killed off the newsreels (roughly) in the 50s, fiction
    >film as by far the dominant form of film production. What that's got to do
    >with the Lumieres?
    > <It's the same with the Computer culture developed in Silicon
    >Valley. Each
    > > element of the complex existed at some point before it was incorporated
    > > into the culture. But these men changed forever the way such things are
    > > being done by putting them together in a new way. If you don't want to
    > > give them credit for what they did, that's fine. But I've lived long
    > > enough to see the changes and I doubt they would have come about exactly
    > > the same way under the direction of anyone else.>
    > >
    > Again, you're ascribing social change to the inventors rather than
    >the things, which isn't right.
    > <It doesn't matter that these men didn't have the entire vision
    >before they
    > > set out to build their companies. Culture grows from bits and pieces
    > > generated from the minds of men who are solving one problem at a time.
    > > Organizing the enterprise is one of the problems they had to solve.
    > > Compensating the people who worked for them was another. Their
    > > were adopted by others who came after them.
    > >
    > > People don't know the impact their ideas will have until after the ideas
    > > have been adopted. But it's the sum total of the ideas they put
    > > that comprise the culture, not the bits and pieces that go into it.
    > > are thrown away in the process. And it never stops. It becomes a line
    > >
    > > evolution that new cultures will grow out of.
    > >
    > > Bill Gates and his ideas are now having a tremendous impact on how
    > > software
    > > is produced in China. The ideas of Karl Marx, Henry Ford and Bill Gates
    > > are in a huge struggle to determine where the culture of manufacturing
    > > China will end up. What they have ten years now will contain elements
    > > from all these sources. Some people will profit from these
    > > and some won't. But the ideas themselves will generate billions of
    > > dollars in both profits and losses.>
    > >
    > I'm sorry, but this great men of history narrative just doesn't
    >wash. It's describing complex social change too simplistically.
    > In the 1980s a British company, Sincliar produced a home computer
    >called the Spectrum, that was a huge hit in the UK, and across Europe-
    >millions were sold. It didn't do a thing in the US (I think Timex tried to
    >sell it in the States). Indeed, the computer/games console industry shows
    >time and again that there are many other factors than the "genius" of
    >inventors that shape the impact of technologies. Open source stuff, is a
    >good example here. Or, since you mention Gates, his exploiting of IBM's
    >mistake, which many would say was opportunism, not inventor's genius.
    > Vincent
    The following headlines from the South China Morning Post illustrate how
    ideas are spread around the world.

    Taipei awards 3G licences

    Taiwan awarded third-generation (3G) mobile phone licences to five companies
    on Wednesday, wrapping up one of the world's longest-running and most
    competitive auctions for the cutting-edge wireless service.

    Blade servers seen as next big sector

    The growth of the Internet has triggered an explosion in demand for
    front-end servers demanding more space and power. The result will be a huge
    boost in demand for the new generation of slim, low-cost blade servers,
    according to analysts.

    US-based Chinese set sights on mainland

    Mainland Chinese entrepreneurs who found success in Silicon Valley are
    rushing to stake a claim in China's burgeoning high-technology sector, and
    they believe language and culture give them an edge over competitors.

    Wild card makes its play

    Hutchison Whampoa aims to be one of the first to offer third-generation (3G)
    services in Europe later this year, but its bid is being seen by many in
    Britain as simply too ambitious.

    Some individuals will have more influence on the process than others. Deny
    it if you will, but memes don't spread in a vacuum. People are the
    environment in which they compete. Some people have more influence on this
    than others. The selling of ideas is just as important to their propagation
    as their invention and fitness. The people who can put it all together will
    be responsible for the spread of more memes more successfully than those who
    can't. If you feel that is agrandizing someone, we see it differently. I
    see it merely as an observation, like saying "redwoods are bigger and live
    longer than most other species of tree." Some people think that makes them
    more grand, but that's not contained in my statement.


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