Being First Isn't The Most Important Thing, Getting It Right Is

from the and-that's-hard dept

Marcus Carab points us to this wonderful comic from Scott Meyer's Basic Instructions. I won't post the full strip, but just one awesome panel, so as to encourage you to check out the whole thing. In it, two guys are discussing Steve Jobs and his ability to make products that work:
That last line is a classic:
He's the kid who copies off of your test, then gets a better grade than you.
But the overall point is a key one, and one we've tried to make often around here. Merely copying what someone else has done isn't all that meaningful. If you've just copied, and don't add anything new, you haven't done much. But if you can copy something that's so-so, and make it work... that's real innovation. This is something that people who haven't built companies or brought products to market often don't understand. Execution is everything. The idea is almost worthless.

Actually, I really like the way Derek Sivers has explained it: the idea is a multiplier, but the execution is still what matters:

AWFUL IDEA = -1
WEAK IDEA = 1
SO-SO IDEA = 5
GOOD IDEA = 10
GREAT IDEA = 15
BRILLIANT IDEA = 20

NO EXECUTION = $1
WEAK EXECUTION = $1000
SO-SO EXECUTION = $10,000
GOOD EXECUTION = $100,000
GREAT EXECUTION = $1,000,000
BRILLIANT EXECUTION = $10,000,000

To make a business, you need to multiply the two.

The most brilliant idea, with no execution, is worth $20.

The most brilliant idea takes great execution to be worth $20,000,000.

So the idea matters... but marginally. Execution is what makes the big difference all around. Along those lines, being first doesn't much matter if the execution is weak. And in technology, plenty of first executions are weak. If we limit the ability of anyone else to execute better, then we lose out on tremendous opportunities for others to execute correctly. We want products that work. We don't want broken products that were "first."


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    theodp, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 6:41am

    Gary Kildall - The Man Who Could Have Been Bill Gates

    'The Man Who Could Have Been Bill Gates' comes to mind.
    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/04_43/b3905109_mz063.htm

     

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      JEDIDIAH, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 6:50am

      Re: Gary Kildall - The Man Who Could Have Been Bill Gates

      That's very apropos.

      Bill Gates is the next step in the cycle and the kid that really ends up being successful. Jobs is a lot more like Kildall in some ways.

      On the other hand, not everyone needs to be either (Gates or Jobs). A free market allows for lots of different alternatives and can accommodate people that never bought into any of the ideas presented in the cartoon.

      There is no single value for "getting it right".

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 6:50am

    So if you take an awful idea and execute it weakly you lose $1000 but if you execute it brilliantly you lose $10 mil?

     

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      MondoGordo, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:25am

      Re:

      um ... yeah ... the Ford Edsel ring a bell ?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:43am

      Re:

      Banks come to mind here.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:53am

      Re:

      The HP touch pad comes to mind. The got popular when they got cheap, but HP lost a ton.

       

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      Bengie, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:20am

      Re:

      I have an awful idea, I'm going sell something they don't need/want. I will do a great job marketing it, but in the end it doesn't sell well.

      I lost money

       

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      The eejit (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:25am

      Re:

      The Nintendo Power Glove says hello, as does the Dreamcast.

       

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        HothMonster, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:39am

        Re: Re:

        ummm the dreamcast was an awesome product. it just got no support after every figured out how to break the copy protection (open lid put in burned game after splash screen). It was the best console of its time, sega was just too close to broke to pull out of that one. It was an awesome idea executed meh.

         

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          JEDIDIAH, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:50am

          More piracy nonsense

          Breaking copy protection had nothing to do with it.

          There were "too many devices" out there and the major studios decided to focus on other platforms. The likes of EA decided to "simply not bother". Fears of piracy really had nothing to do with it.

          Seeing the other guys in the studio play the thing is what encouraged me to buy one of my own. It was certainly well regarded by the guys in the trenches.

           

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            HothMonster, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:05am

            Re: More piracy nonsense

            EAs lack of support and the PS2 launch had a lot to do with it. But rampant piracy was certainly a reason not to continue to sink money into the system. It wasn't like 360 and ps3 which require knowledge and or hardware modding to make pirating possible, you just had to hit eject. Sega was already bleeding money, they needed the Dreamcast to be a lot more profitable than it was. Piracy certainly wasnt the only reason we don't have a Dreamiercast, but it was a factor.

            Did other studios ignore the dreamcast? I thought it was just EA.

            Dreamcast was certainly king of the roost as far as most console connoisseur were concerned.

             

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              Jay (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:02pm

              Re: Re: More piracy nonsense

              No, piracy had NOTHING to do with the Dreamcast dying.

              The fact is, Sega had no money to market it. While the Dreamcast was going strong in Japan, it was already weak in the US.

              This is coming from the fact that Sega learned the HARD way, that making so many peripherals for a console (Genesis) was not the way to make a buck. Look at all the stuff that came out for the Genesis. Sega CD, 32X, and I'm forgetting a few. At current prices, the Sega CD was ~ $300-400 as an add-on, along with the 32X! That's quite a lot to expand a system.

              Then you have the Sega Saturn which came out at a price point of $399. Most gamers were children that could not afford the game system.

              So enter the Dreamcast. Sega of America gave them a budget of $14 million and only a few months to hit it big.

              Sadly, Sega focused on Jet Set Radio to push the console and Sonic Adventure. The modem inside was great, but broadband penetration had been halted by AT&T (another rant, for another day) so the US marketability of broadband really hurt them.

              So it was a number of factors, but it's mainly Sega's own fault for doing themselves in.

               

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                Any Mouse (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 4:56pm

                Re: Re: Re: More piracy nonsense

                AT&T wasn't even available in my area for broadband access at the time. IT was Cablesystem or nothin', and I still use Cablesystem.

                 

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        HothMonster, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:39am

        Re: Re:

        ummm the dreamcast was an awesome product. it just got no support after every figured out how to break the copy protection (open lid put in burned game after splash screen). It was the best console of its time, sega was just too close to broke to pull out of that one. It was an awesome idea executed meh.

         

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          freak (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:18am

          Re: Re: Re:

          If the dreamcasts discs didn't fall apart and were unusable within a week of buying them, most people wouldn't have cared to crack the copy protection.

           

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            HothMonster, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:26am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            i played NHL2k constantly for like 2 years, maybe it didnt fall apart because it never left the disc tray

             

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              freak (profile), Sep 16th, 2011 @ 4:43am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I'm mildly exaggerating, but as I recall, somewhere close to 1/4 of the discs would fall apart really quickly, and maybe 1/2 of them would last any amount of time.

              But really, you don't need numbers anywhere as high as that to piss off 50% of your customers. Each person just needs to buy 1 game each with this problem . . .

               

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 6:51am

    Why The Patent System Does Not Work

    And there folks is why the patent system does not work. It gives a monopoly privilege to whoever decided to file first after becoming aware of an idea, even somebody else's idea. Then the idea is locked up in the hands of that person. Other persons who may have the ability to execute better have to negotiate with the patent owner. The patent owner will undervalue execution and overvalue the idea. Hello lawsuits. Goodbye start-up companies. It is a barrier to getting a profitable company started. Hello high unemployment and government deficit, as non-comprehending politicians try to throw money at the jobs problem, and that does not work.

     

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    Rekrul, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 6:51am

    He didn't make the first computer, just the first home computer to lack color.

     

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      Michael Long (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:36am

      Re:

      The Apple ][ didn't have color?

       

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        Rekrul, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 12:04pm

        Re: Re:

        The Apple ][ didn't have color?

        I never said that the first computer they designed didn't have color, just that he produced the first B/W home computer.

        Apple II, Atari, C64, TI, IBM, Spectrum, BBC Micro, Amstrad, even the Coleco Adam, all had some form of color graphics. Then along comes the Mac, and it's in B/W. There's an innovation. I wonder why they don't still make B/W computers...

         

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          Michael Long (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 3:08pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          None of those machines had bit-mapped graphic screens used to display the entire interface.

          And one might also mention that it was "innovative" enough to spawn both Windows and OS/2.

          Sort of like the iPhone and Android...

           

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            Rekrul, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 3:24am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            None of those machines had bit-mapped graphic screens used to display the entire interface.

            True, but why did displaying the interface on a bit-mapped screen require the use of B/W? The Mac was hailed as a great desktop publishing system, but who wants to do DTP on a system that can't even do color?

            Even GEOS for the C64 supported the use of color.

            And one might also mention that it was "innovative" enough to spawn both Windows and OS/2.

            Yes, and one might also mention that this innovation was largely copied from work done by Xerox, rather than being invented by Apple.

            Also, if I can be a bit of a computer snob for a moment, the use of a simplified interface has lead to a whole generation of people who own computers, but who don't really know much about using them beyond double-clicking icons and dragging stuff onto the desktop. If you were to go into someone's Windows system and rename the Desktop and Start Menu directories so that the system couldn't find them, leading to all the shortcuts disappearing, 99% of the computer owners today would have to pay someone to fix it for them. They would be completely at a loss as to what to do, despite the fact that they can still open a window from the My Computer icon and browse the contents of the entire system.

            Why does this matter? Because most users today don't have a clue what they're doing. They install so much crap like toolbars and junk, that even if they manage to avoid getting infected with a virus, the system takes 10+ minutes to boot and requires a 45 second drive access just to open a window. Then they throw it out because it's too slow, buy a new one and the cycle starts anew. Check the computer of anyone with a digital camera and I guarantee that you'll find at least three copies of every photo, in different directories. Most people's idea of computer gaming is going to Pogo.com and playing flash games. Hotmail is the only form of email they know and they wouldn't be able to setup a dedicated email client if their life depended on it. When using one person's computer, Zone Alarm firewall popped up asking if I wanted to allow a connection. The owner told me "Oh, just keep clicking 'Allow' until it goes away."

            See if you can find ten people who know what speed internet connection they're paying for. See if you can find even 3 people who know what the actual speed they're getting is. Hell, see if you can find even one person who knows what resolution their desktop is set to without having to check.

             

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        darryl, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 3:16am

        Re: Re: still little or no understanding of what a patent is !

        and the MITS Altair did not even have a monitor or keyboard, you point is ?

        Yes, technology progresses, we even have push button telephones these days !!!.

        That's because there are lots of smart people inventing and patenting NEW METHODS of achieving a desired objective.

        And being able to be suitably rewarded for the effort to develop that new method.

        The fact that technology progresses (and at an incredable pace) is due to people inventing new methods, and a patent system that allows people to develop new methods.

        Instead of having to rely on just using 'the old' method, and not bothering about thinking up new methods.

        In your world a modem would be a patent, and we would all still be connecting to slow computers on BBS's with 300 BPS modems.

         

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      HothMonster, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:41am

      Re:

      is it his fault Al Gore didnt figure out how to add color to the world until 1953?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 6:52am

    We want products that work. We don't want broken products that were "first."

    So, patent trolls are like forum posters who have nothing more to say than "first"?

     

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    Jeff, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:00am

    I think a fan base should be in the calculation. He could have slapped an "i" onto a month old dog turd and his drones would have tripped over each other to be the first sale.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:06am

    yeah but if you can rip it off from someone else and not have to pay to develop it and just execute, you get the same result. heres to not having original ideas!

     

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      The Logician (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:12am

      Re:

      There are no original ideas, AC#8, because everything is built upon what came before. It is a natural progression, and it's not uncommon for multiple individuals to come to the same conclusion and idea simultaneously. The idea, as has been said, is not nearly as important as the execution, because an idea without good execution goes nowhere. But the idea and good execution do not always come from the same source.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:32am

        Re: Re:

        "inspired by" and "copy of" are two different things. Until you learn that, your position as a "logician" is in serious doubt.

         

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          JEDIDIAH, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:35am

          Specs versus implementation

          This has nothing to do with "logic". It's a simple matter of engineering.

          Without a prototype to copy or some source code, there really isn't any "copying" possible. The best you can do is "recreate" something or "re-invent" it.

          Patents are supposed to be about implementations, not ideas.

          Some people seem confused on this point and want to grant "inventors" the right to certain ideas.

           

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            darryl, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 1:20pm

            Re: Specs versus implementation

            This has nothing to do with "logic". It's a simple matter of engineering.

            I could not work out what you are trying to say after that statement, I was laughing too hard !!!!!!..

            You should print that statement up in big letter's, frame it and put in on your wall, and every day say to yourself.

            "This has nothing to do with 'logic'. It's a simple matter of engineering" !!!!!..

            and no patents are not supposed to be about implementations or idea's they are about METHODS of implementation.

            An idea is: "I want to travel over a distance"

            an "implementation" would be "I might be able to implement a mechanical device to help me".

            A METHOD is, "if I put two wheels here, and a chain here, and peddles here and a frame here" I have implemented a mechanical device (push bike) and developed a specific method to achieve that goal.

            You might have the same goal (to travel a distance) you might implement a different METHOD to achieve that goal.
            (you might invent a type of aircraft) or a METHOD to achieve travel by flight over distance.

            I might invent a motorbike, someone else a scooter, someone else roller skates, someone else a form of car, and a form of bus...

            The "idea" is to want to travel
            the implementation is 'by a mechanically assisted means'
            the METHOD is the specific method you employ to achieve your 'idea' by the "implementation' of your specific method.

            There are no specification on an idea, and no specifications on an implementation.

            There are specifications on the specific method you have invented to implement your idea.

            Idea = "TO travel"
            Implementation = "by mechanical assistance" (ie not walking)
            METHOD = invention of a vehicle to implement the idea.

            PATENT = formal acknowledment that you are responsible for the development of that method, and a mechanism for rewarding you for that, assuming someone else does not development a better method rendering your method worthless.

            its funny you guys try to discuss this issue with such a poor understanding of even the most basic concepts.

            Even Mikes plays along with you... again it is easy to tell why the US is in such massive trouble these days !

             

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:51am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You are out of luck because ideas are free to be copied nobody can stop others from copying ideas.

           

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          Richard (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:58am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "inspired by" and "copy of" are two different things.

          No they are not. They are points on a continuous spectrum.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Well, yeah, if your "spectrum" is so wide as to be unrealistic.

            A direct copy is just a copy. There is no inspiration there. A modern tablet computer might be inspired by a Star Trek data pad, but they are not a copy. Not even close.

            Copying is uninspired. How can it be on the same spectrum as inspiration?

             

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              rubberpants, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:46am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So if it's not an identical/direct/100% copy, then it's not a copy? I agree.

               

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                JEDIDIAH, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:52am

                !copy

                So the tablet phone that lets me select all of my text messages and delete them with one click isn't a "copy" then?

                I certainly see it that way.

                Doesn't really matter in the end. People need to get stuff done and bridge trolls that can sabotage the entire industry are a real problem.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 12:39pm

                  Re: !copy

                  so a formula one race car is just a 'copy' of a model T ford ? after all it has 4 wheels, a stearing wheel, brakes and a motor !!

                   

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              Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:39am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I see somebody ain't an artist.

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:49am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The same way there is a spectrum from "No" to "Yes", filled with "Not really", "Maybe", "Kinda" and "Sure".
              Here the spectrum has "Copy" and "Unrelated", filled with "made it a new color", "Remake of", "Inspired by" and "They're both squareish"

               

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              Richard (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 4:51am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Well, yeah, if your "spectrum" is so wide as to be unrealistic.


              This comment is a symptom of the absence of rational thought.

               

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              Richard (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 5:06am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Copying is uninspired. How can it be on the same spectrum as inspiration?

              Ah I see where your logical fallacy lies. You confuse the subjective concept of "inspired", used as a term of praise for a work of high quality, with the objective term of "inspired by" which merely indicates the source that has motivated (and may have also provided some source material for) a new work.

              Oddly enough "inspired" and "inspired by" are two different things!

              One refers to the innate quality of a work, whilst the other merely indicates its origins.

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 12:56pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              there is inspiration in a direct copy, it just IS NOT YOUR INSPIRATION !!!.. if you are uninspired and cannot get inspiration then you copy someone else who was inspired.

              The only inspiration you can claim to is the inspiration to steal the idea off someone else, the person who was inspired.

              the inspriation comes from the original that you copied, not from your copy of it.

               

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            darryl, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 12:46pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Yes they are, they are totally different things.

            They are not points on a continuous spectrum, a copy requires no inspiration at all.
            Is a photcopier 'inspired' by copying Shakespere ?

            I dont think so, Me thinks you are somewhat confused by simple things....

             

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            darryl, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 12:47pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Yes they are, they are totally different things.

            They are not points on a continuous spectrum, a copy requires no inspiration at all.
            Is a photcopier 'inspired' by copying Shakespere ?

            I dont think so, Me thinks you are somewhat confused by simple things....

             

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            darryl, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 1:01pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            No they are not. They are points on a continuous spectrum.

            No, first it is "either" "OR" its binary, either it is inspired, or it is a copy of inspiration.

            Unless you can consider that act of making a copy 'inspired' and most do not, it's like saying there is a spectrum of how pregnant you are, no there is not.

            You either are or you are not.

            You either thought if it yourself, or you copied it from someone else.

             

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        JEDIDIAH, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:32am

        The next iteration

        Plus execution is always difficult.

        If you take a look at someone else's product and copy the superficial details, you still have to go to all of the work in recreating it. Most people don't seem to fully appreciate the sort of work that goes into something like that.

        Besides, if all you are working from is just a description then you are "re-inventing" more than you are "copying".

        There's also always room for improvement or doing something a little different.

         

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      The eejit (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:50am

      Re:

      Da Vinci devised the concept of the plane nearly 400 years before the Wright Brothers got airborne.

       

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        Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:03pm

        Re: Da Vinci devised the concept of the plane nearly 400 years before the Wright Brothers got airborne.

        And he did all that while understanding nothing of aerofoils and lift, streamlining or power-to-weight ratios.

         

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          darryl, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 3:01am

          Re: Re: Da Vinci devised the concept of the plane nearly 400 years before the Wright Brothers got airborne.

          'the concept of' and the "practical realisation of a concept" are two totally different things.

          It's not even a valid argument, because the write bros did not, could not and could never patent "heavier than air flight".

          They might have been able to patent certain METHODS of achieving heavier than air flight, but clearly there are many methods, and an infinate number of methods that have not been invented yet.

          And Lawrence, how do you know what Da Vince had a concept of ?

          You do not think he could of once in his life seen a bird flying, and worked out a bird is not lighter than air ?

          Or that he did not have basic science and physics skills ?

          Or that he never saw a ship on the water and thought that the water is providing "LIFT" for the boat ? and working out that water is more dense than air, like a bird is more dense than air, and put those two concepts together ?

          Amazing, what kind of eductation system do you have there ??? (whereever you are ?) or were you away the day they taught you history ?

           

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      Richard (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:00am

      Re:

      yeah but if you can rip it off from someone else and not have to pay to develop it and just execute, you get the same result. heres to not having original ideas!

      Your comment makes no sense. "Develop" and "execute" would usually refer to the same process. So you cannot - by definition do one and avoid the expense of the other.

       

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        JEDIDIAH, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 1:01pm

        The easy copy.

        If it's so easy to copy then there's no good reason to patent it then. Nothing of value has been added to the state of the art. There is simply nothing that warrants granting a 17 year innovation crippling patent.

         

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        darryl, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 12:31pm

        Re: Re:

        develop and execute are not the same process, you could spend 50 years trying to develop fussion power (we probably will as a race), but that development does not mean you are able to 'exucute' that development.

        You might be able to achieve a fusion reaction but not a sustained one that will provide economically viable long term electricity.

        But, if something is allready developed, and the cost and expense of that development has allready been paid for. Then the person or group who paid for that development are entitled to gain benefit from that development.

        Again, that is not stopping ANYONE else, including you from developing your own method to achieve the same result.

        You can develop your own method for the cost effective generation of fusion power (if you are good enough), but if you are not good enough, you might have to pay the people who are good enough, to use their technique.

        This is what makes the patent system so powerful, and effective, it does not stop you doing better, it stops you doing THE SAME.

        People do not want 50 different versions of the same thing, they want 50 different methods to achieve a desired result.

        So if my desired result is to travel 100miles, I can use the several methods to achieve that, I can fly, drive, ride a bike, walk, bus, train, boat, hitch... and so on.

        That is because "travelling" is not patented, neither is a car or a boat, but specific methods of achieving specific things can be protected by patents.

        That is why we can have many methods to achieve the same result, how bad would the world be if there was only one way to achieve ANYTHING you chose to do !!!!...

        That would SUCK, thankyou patents for showing us there is more than one way to skin a cat.

         

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      Zot-Sindi, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:25am

      Re:

      heres to not having original ideas!


      excuse me?

      you're using the most unoriginal argument on earth ever made, the one preaching originality yet has none itself

      kind of the funny irony of it, it's a self-defeating argument that just proves that there is no originality

       

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    MondoGordo, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:14am

    Why can't we learn from the past ?

    Genius(Value) is 1% inspiration(the idea) and 99% perspiration (the implementation). - Albert Einstein

    The more things change the more they stay the same ...

     

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      darryl, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 2:51am

      Re: Why can't we learn from the past ?

      If you are going to quote 'famous' quotes, get it right !!!!

      it was not Albert Einstein.. it was

      Thomas Alva Edison

      http://thinkexist.com/quotation/genius_is-inspiration_and-perspiration/146542.html

      he was also the WORLD RECORD HOLDER for the number of patents taken out !!!! 1093 patents !!

      Edison was never known as a great scientist, or researcher, that is why he made that quote. Because he did not have the engineering or scientific skills to do it other other way.

      Einstein, would be 99% inspiration and 1% or less perspiration.

      Edison just tried everything until he found something that worked.

      Take for example the electric light, and his selection of the material for the 'filament'. he tried thousands of things, based on unscientific method, until after the 99% perspiration he stumbled on something that worked.

      "horse hair is not good for light filaments, carbonised cotton is better".

      Edison in his 99% perspiration discovered the "edison effect', but again did not have the scientific or engineering skills to turn that effect into a practicle device.

      It was Lee De Forst who employed the "edison effect" to create a practicle device that are called 'valves' or "tubes". Electron tubles, diodes, triods, pentodes ect.

      All working on the edison effect but but invented by De Forest.

       

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      darryl, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 1:41pm

      Re: Why can't we learn from the past ?

      also genius would be the IDEA,

      perspiration would be the VALUE.

      But nice try :)

      genius (the idea) is "lets put a bunch of switches together to make a computer".

      Perspiration (value) is putting a bunch of switches together to make a compuer..

       

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    A non-mouse, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:49am

    Copying

    "He's the kid who copies off of your test, then gets a better grade than you."

    I have no problem with that, until he turns around and claims everyone else is copying off of him! Taking someone's good idea and making it better is competition. Taking someone's good idea and calling it your own is just being a douche.

     

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    Richard (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:54am

    Don't forget luck

    Actually - luck (AKA being in the right place at the right time) has a lot to do with it - and gets multiplied in with the other factors.

    I don't think that quality of execution matters beyond a certain threshold.

    Proper table goes like this

    AWFUL IDEA = 0.01
    WEAK IDEA = 0.1
    SO-SO IDEA = 1
    GOOD IDEA = 10
    GREAT IDEA = 15
    BRILLIANT IDEA = 20

    IN THE BACK OF BEYOND 0.01
    IN A PLACE WITH LIMITED CATCHEMENT 1
    IN A PLACE WITH MODERATE CATCHEMENT 10
    IN A PLACE WITH GOOD CATCHMENT 100
    IN A PLACE WITH GOOD LINKAGE TO THE WHOLE WORLD 1000

    MUCH TOO EARLY 0.1
    TOO EARLY 1
    EARLY 10
    RIGHT MOMENT 100
    TOO LATE 10
    MUCH TOO LATE 1

    NO EXECUTION = $0
    WEAK EXECUTION = $1000
    SO-SO EXECUTION = $100,000
    GOOD EXECUTION = $100,000
    GREAT EXECUTION = $100,000
    BRILLIANT EXECUTION = $100,000

    Although you could argue that timing etc are skill not luck I would observe that most successful business people simply seem to have only one (base) idea - which they attempt to execute over and over again - and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Steve Jobs' idea is basically to re-package technology to appeal to people who don't normally go for it. (The detailed ideas used to implement this are usually stolen from others anyway.) He has tried the same idea many times. He is fortunate in that some of his early attempts worked well enough to give him a base of capital (financial and reputation) for him to keep trying.

    Looking at Jobs' career we can see that the Apple 1 was too early, Apple 2 was bang on time (but the market itself was small then so the catchment factor is only around 50) Apple Mac was a little too early (Windows 3 was the right time for wimps), Next was in the wrong place, but iPod and iPhone were pretty much perfect timing. For me the jury is still out on tablets as an idea - but iPad is better timing than the competition.

     

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      Chargone (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:37am

      Re: Don't forget luck

      for anyone who cares enough to wonder but not enough to do the maths, if i've not screwed up, the above can give you anywhere from 1 cent to 200 billion dollars if you execute at all. (though i think the first table had it right with the possiblity of getting negative numbers as outputs.)

      (obviously, if you do nothing at all (no execution) you get nothing one way or the other.)

       

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        Richard (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:23am

        Re: Re: Don't forget luck

        i think the first table had it right with the possiblity of getting negative numbers as outputs.)
        Maybe - but then it's hard to avoid a well executed bad idea losing more money than a badly executed one (obviously reality is more complicated).

         

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    Scooters (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 7:59am

    A good salesman can sell ice water to anyone...

    ...but a great salesman can sell a freezer to an Eskimo.

    It's an old saying I heard years ago and this aptly describes the capacity of Apple. Apple's products are not innovative. They're not special. They're not any different than the variety of products out there except in one area: marketing.

    This strip is another Apple propaganda device which highlights the ridiculousness of a nation bitching about prices going up for services while standing in line to spend $600 on a phone because of marketing.

    What makes this strip even more damaging is the omission of the fact Apple then turns and locks up anyone else from copying, which is no one's definition of "better".

    I get the article's intent was to focus on the copies leading to "better" products, but this is not the message I'm seeing the strip deliver. It's an Apple fanboy's take on a misconception.

    Let's review each of these "products":
    "He didn't make the first computer..."
    Fact: Xerox did this with its GUI interface, which both Microsoft and Apple then lifted for themselves. If Apple were the innovator here, then why the hell am I typing on a PC, the predominant machine used around the world.

    "The first mp3 player worth..."
    Fact: The RIAA sued every goddamn competitor out of the market. Apple's savior was its iTunes, again marketing, to ensure people will overpay for an infinite supply of content to appease the RIAA. Most mp3 players were successful because of the then "iTunes" called Napster. Once Napster failed, the rest is "history". Any attempts at "copying" the iPod instantly meant a lawsuit.

    "The first smart phone that worked..."
    Fact: Bullshit. Palm did work, but as many will point out: it was ahead of its time. The technology of the device was too advanced for the rest of the (baby) internet. Then comes Blackberry, who takes what Palm has done and ties it into a phone. Apple does nothing new here other than throws a few gimmicks, such as a touch screen and tilt, and everyone's suckered by the gimmicks, not the actual device. It's the Wii of cell phones.

    "The first tablet people want."
    Fact: Apple just tried again when others before them tried and gave up because touch screen technology sucked in the 90s. Now, they're everywhere. My freakin' mp3 player has a touch screen.

    People "want" this tablet for no other reason than it's by Apple.

    People also "want" the Samsung Galaxy, but sadly, they're shit out of luck in some places thanks to Apple.

    Scott Meyer can take this propaganda bullshit and shove it up his ass.

    I will give Apple its kudos for its marketing, but I'll rot in hell before I ever give it to them for being "innovative".

    And yes... I despise Apple, so I'm the anti-fanboy.
    ;)

     

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      Butcherer79 (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:22am

      Re: A good salesman can sell ice water to anyone...

      I thought it was sell ice to the eskimo's - who I think prefer to be grouped as inuit's - though again I'm not sure, I think there was a who-har about 'Eskimo' now being considered racist, not that I care, I just haven't posted in a while...

       

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        HothMonster, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:52am

        Re: Re: A good salesman can sell ice water to anyone...

        Eskimo means "eater of raw meat" or "flesh eater" it is generally considered derogatory but it depends on where you are. Inuit is not an appropriate blanket term because it is a specific group of people and it is insulting to non Inuits (Yupik and Aleut). Canada made Inuit the official name for its indigenous people, I believe Alaska still uses Eskimo. Not sure about Greenland and Siberia

         

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          freak (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:25am

          Re: Re: Re: A good salesman can sell ice water to anyone...

          "Canada made Inuit the official name for its indigenous people"

          Eh, not quite. The biggest group of perma-frost northern Native Americans in Canada is the Inuit, and they do pretty much have their own province, Nunavut, but we have other native groups up in the perma-frost, and we have plenty of other native groups not quite that far north.

           

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            HothMonster, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: A good salesman can sell ice water to anyone...

            I was under the impression that Canada had adapted Inuit to mean something approximate to native american in the states. The blanket term to cover different groups of ingeniousness peoples. Wiki tells me I am misinformed, not sure were i got the idea from then

             

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          Chosen Reject (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:32am

          Re: Re: Re: A good salesman can sell ice water to anyone...

          That was an awesomely enlightening comment. So I researched it further. Apparently some people think Eskimo comes from one language that means what you say it does. However, most linguists think it comes from another language which means "she laces a snowshoe", or maybe from a third language where it means "people who speak a different language".

          It turns out some people in Canada disagreed with the majority of linguists and decided it meant "eater of raw meat", didn't like that and so decided to change the name. The Eskimos (there isn't any other all encompassing term) don't really agree on what should be the all encompassing term, and some don't think there even needs to be.

           

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      Michael Long (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:52am

      Re: A good salesman can sell ice water to anyone...

      Just to pick one...

      "'The first tablet people want.' Fact: Apple just tried again when others before them tried and gave up because touch screen technology sucked in the 90s."

      Touch screen technology? How about processor tech? Battery tech? A friggin' hard drive for storage? 2-3 hours of battery life. A brick that weighed 4-5 lbs? How about the idiots who insisted upon putting a desktop OS and applications into a touch device?

      Apple "tried again" with a touch-screen device with a custom-designed mobile processor and flash storage, that weighed 1.5 lbs, got 10 hours of battery life, and an OS interface and applications written from the ground up for tablets.

      Yep. They did nothing special at all...

      "My freakin' mp3 player has a touch screen."

      Today.

       

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        Scooters (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:35am

        Re: Re: A good salesman can sell ice water to anyone...

        "Today."
        Perhaps this is the part of my post you overlooked, but everything Apple is "today" is what was ripped off (yes, I said it since this is what they say) from the hard work of others before them.

        I remember those tablets of yesteryear. Once again, this is another great example of an application too advanced for the technology.

        Perhaps these companies should have spent millions more trying to re-introduce their ideas?

        Moreso, these tablets aren't OS capable, now are they? In fact, I'm sure some of us are still waiting for the marriage of a portable tablet with OS support.


        As for the "eskimo" commentary, hey... just remembering the quote as someone said it. :P

         

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          Michael Long (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 3:35pm

          Re: Re: Re: A good salesman can sell ice water to anyone...

          "Perhaps these companies should have spent millions more trying to re-introduce their ideas?"

          Not unless they were willing to innovate. A full-blown Windows Vista/7 desktop interface in a "tablet" would still fail. Which leads us to...

          "Moreso, these tablets aren't OS capable, now are they? In fact, I'm sure some of us are still waiting for the marriage of a portable tablet with OS support""

          Why in the hell would you want a desktop OS designed for a pixel-perfect input device in a portable handheld device? The OS interface isn't designed for touch. The applications aren't designed for touch.

          I occasisionally use my pad to remote into a Windows server. It -- to use a technical term -- sucks.

           

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            Karl (profile), Sep 22nd, 2011 @ 8:06am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: A good salesman can sell ice water to anyone...

            Why in the hell would you want a desktop OS designed for a pixel-perfect input device in a portable handheld device?

            Off-topic, but:

            Apparently, this is exactly what Windows 8 will attempt to be. Picture a Windows Phone on your PC.

             

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        JEDIDIAH, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:01am

        Marketing versus engineering

        Old school tablets are still selling. They are selling to the same people they used to sell to. They were never really targeted towards "consumers". So those with a strictly "consumer" mindset never perceive them. They might as well not exist.

        A lot of computing tech is like that.

        This is one of the problems with the mentality expressed in that cartoon.

        An Apple tablet does have a "desktop OS" on it, you're just prevented from seeing it. So is anyone else unless they want to sabotage the product's ability to receive software updates. It's all smoke and mirrors for the clueless.

        Tech advances. Samsung as a real hardware vendor has probably done more than Apple to make Apple products a practical reality. There's an entire industry of similar companies.

         

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          Michael Long (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 3:20pm

          Re: Marketing versus engineering

          "An Apple tablet does have a "desktop OS" on it..."

          Reread please. I wrote, "...an OS interface [note] and applications written from the ground up for tablets." Which is true. The underpinnings of iOS lie in OS X, but the desktop interface isn't just hidden, it doesn't exist. Even systems like power management and GC are different, optimized for the device.

          Microsoft, on the other hand, insisted on trying to put the friggin' Windows desktop (designed for a pixel-perfect input device) into a tablet, and then wondered why it never took off.

          "Old school tablets are still selling. They are selling to the same people they used to sell to."

          Doubt that. Too many people are leaning towards iPads.

          Funny, I just did a quick Google search looking for systems like Dell's XT2 "flip" screen notebook/tablet, and found this: "This product is unavailable. Below we have suggested a like or better computer to satisfy your immediate needs."

          Followed by nothing.

           

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          Derek Kerton (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 3:26pm

          Re: Marketing versus engineering

          "It's all smoke and mirrors for the clueless."

          And that is awesome.

          I'll always bet on the (few) products that obscure complex technology, and replace it with "smoke and mirrors for the clueless." Do it well, and you sell 25 million instead of 2000.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 12:17pm

          Re: Marketing versus engineering

          what group is ANY product targetted for it not for the CONSUMERS of that product ??

          They were never really targeted towards "consumers".

          WTF, stupidist thing I ever heard (not from Masnick)...

           

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      Franklin G Ryzzo (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:26am

      Re: A good salesman can sell ice water to anyone...

      I'm a bit of an anti-fanboy myself. Apple is great at marketing and they make mediocre products at best. Granted their interface is easy to use since they have essentially made their products idiot proof, but that doesn't make them good. This however is not the main focus of my gripe...


      "If we limit the ability of anyone else to execute better, then we lose out on tremendous opportunities for others to execute correctly."

      This is the biggest problem I have with Apple. They took other people's ideas and (in the general consensus)improved them (this is highly debatable, but should be the subject of a different discussion). Now when someone else takes someone's idea and improves upon it, Apple litigates them into the ground. They are nothing more than hypocrites. Samsung is a perfect example. They made a tablet that is essentially superior to the iPad in every way, but without the Apple branding, and probably would not have even posed significant direct competition. But rather then let the minority enjoy the tablet they want, that was built for them (not for the fanboys), Apple attempts to block them from selling it at all.

      What happened to competition in the market place? What happened to letting the consumer choose which product they want? No one in their right mind would ever confuse a Galaxy for an iPad... Period. Most people who want a Galaxy want it because it's not an iPad. That's its major selling point. I find what Apple is doing to be pathetic. Litigation is not innovation, and if its good for the goose it should be good for the gander. Apple makes its living off the backs of those that came first, but when someone improves on their designs all of a sudden they unleash their army of trained lawyers. Its just sad.

       

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        Derek Kerton (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 3:37pm

        Re: Re: A good salesman can sell ice water to anyone...

        I agree with your point on hypocrisy. However,

        "Samsung made a tablet that is essentially superior to the iPad in every way..."

        I've got a Samsung Tab 10.1 and an iPad. I have lots of hardware for the purpose of playing around/testing. Believe me, the Samsung is nowhere near as good as the iPad.

        Slow to respond to screen touches, slow to rotate when turned, slow to respond to keyboard (lag), buggy, many apps that 'Force Close', difficult to drag icons because you 'lose' touch with them, complete system hang occurs to me every couple of days from an unused standby state (locks with screen on, black, kills battery). It has dual cameras, but Skype doesn't do video, I need to use Google Talk where I have no contacts in the buddy list.

        Now, I know the specs are great, the hardware is slick, the weight and design are impressive. Battery seems strong, and the UI is even pretty good. But the UX is terrible compared to the iPad. And I am comparing it to iPad 1.

        And that's from a guy who claims to be impartial, but if you must know, uses Windows computers and an Android phone. Android phone is a much better challenger to iPhone than Android tablet is to iPad.

         

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          Hothmonster, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 5:12pm

          Re: Re: Re: A good salesman can sell ice water to anyone...

          " I need to use Google Talk where I have no contacts in the buddy list.

          ill be your friend!

           

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            Derek Kerton (profile), Sep 13th, 2011 @ 5:26pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: A good salesman can sell ice water to anyone...

            Yeah, everyone says that until they find out my hobby is mime.

            Why doesn't anyone want to mime-workout over tablet video conference?

             

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      darryl, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 12:12pm

      Re: A good salesman can sell ice water to anyone...

      The saying is:

      he is such a good salesman that he can sell ice to an eskimo.

      more true is a good conman can sell ice to an eskimo, a good salesman would not try to sell something that is not "RIGHT" to someone..

      So a BAD salesman would sell ice to an eskimo, a good salesman would sell warm jumpers and heaters to the eskimo's.

      A good salesmen sells what clients WANT not what the saleman wants or has to sell.

      a good salesman sells what is right and what his clients need, and a criminal, conman sells what he HAS and what he can con the buyer into buying.

      A good salesman WOULD not do it, a bad salesman COULD not do it.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 8:54am

    But if you can copy something that's so-so, and make it work... that's real innovation.

    No it's not. You're claiming Apple innovated? They never did. They just polish the hell out of everything. That's not innovation at all...

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:22am

      Re:

      By Mike's logic, I can take a song - any song - and simply make the audio better, and I have innovated. Awesome!

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:41am

        Re: Re:

        Well, considering the state of older music, yeah, that would be pretty great!

         

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          Dave, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:55am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I know, right? Even trolls have great ideas sometimes. I'd love to listen to music from the 40's 50's and 60's with the audio cleaned up.

          Hey, AC! Feel free to spout some more sarcasm. Apparently there's gold in there!

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 11:03am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You can already do that with 50$ software. I guess fanboys have no time to google, you know... being all defensive on Mike's site...

             

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 11:48am

        Re: Re:

        you have it all wrong !!!! No such thing as "Mike's logic".'

        we all worked out a long time ago Mike and logic do not mix, reason and logic are things Mike is not aware of...

        its just reflex action for Mike, he sees 'copyright' and goes into autopilot, and he starts to spew out the usual dribble. His fanbois love it and he gets a few page hits and makes a few bucks, and does not have to work for a living.

        Certainly does not have to use his brain, he has outsourced that function...

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 17th, 2011 @ 1:42pm

        Re: Re:

        yea, Mike gets "renovation" and "innovation" confused sometimes.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 9:56am

      Re:

      Maybe it's an innovative way of polishing things.

       

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    Russell, Sep 13th, 2011 @ 10:56am

    Um, check your math?

    You are operating in reverse from MPAA.

    20 x $10,000,000 = $200,000,000. 200 million not 20 million.

     

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    darryl, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 2:07am

    you do not patent 'ideas'

    Every idea is 'improved' on over time, There is also nothing wrong with taking a good idea and developing your OWN method to acheive the same goal.

    Lets take an example...

    the Transistor, most would say that was a good idea, if not a great idea, you can also say the execution of that idea has been massively beyond the wildest expectation of the original inventors.

    The METHOD for creating the "transistor action" was not and was NEVER patented.

    A METHOD was, for A specific type of transistor, there was NOTHING stopping (or that has stopped) others freely developing their own method for the application of transistors, taking patents on THEIR METHOD, and puting that technology into products that humans today could not imagine being without.

    The model T Ford was the FIRST car to be built on a production line, that does not mean that other models of cars have not been allowed to use production lines for them.

    It is JUST A METHOD, a Patent is A METHOD to achieve something, that you have worked out.

    If you want to achieve that same 'thing' and you do not want to use the method the other person invented, you can always develop your OWN METHOD..

    That is how technology progresses, if you want to achieve a result and you dont want to pay someone else for working out a way to do it, you work it out yourself, you work OUT YOUR OWN METHOD.

    You want a transistor, but you dont want to use the method Bell labs used to make their transistor, you work out your OWN method to make a transistor, and you patent that method, not the transistor, but the method of creating that tranny.

    All this talk about "ideas" an idea is not a patent, it is not a solution and it is not a method.

    An 'idea' is "what if I could achieve switching and amplification without having to use Valves and electron tubes?"

    That's an idea, another idea might be, "mabey I could use semiconductors somehow".

    Then they do lots of research and experimentation and trial and error, and they come up with A METHOD of combining Germanium and other chemicals in a certain way to achieve amplification (gain) from the solid state device.

    The write it all up, and go to the patent office and say "We have invented A METHOD of creating amplification using semi-conductors".

    And YOU can do that too, you can create your own method, go to the patent office and file for a patent, and have it granted.

    That does not stop me from going to the patent office 5 minutes after yours is approved and providing a better method making your method outdated and worthless.

    So the best way to void a patent is to invent a better mouse trap. (or transistor, or method for catching mice or for achieving switching and amplification).

    An 'idea' is not a method or how to make that idea a reality, a method to make an idea a real and practicle thing that is unique and new is something that can be patented.

    You cannot patent "turning uranium into electrical power".

    You can patent A METHOD of "turning uranium into electrical power".

    I can then patent A METHOD of "turning uranium into electrical power".

    Then Dark Hamlet can patent A METHOD of "Turning uranium into electrical power".

    You see, just because ONE person has patented A METHOD of doing something that does not lock out ANYONE else from patenting ANOTHER METHOD of achieving the same results.

    All you are NOT allowed to do, is claim (after the fact) that THE method allready patented "is just like mine", "but I never saw the other one !!!! promice"..

    It's amazing that Mike appears to have no idea of what a patent is and how it differs greatly from 'an idea', which in itself in nothing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    darryl, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 4:53am

    this argument makes little or no sense.

    Look at for example the Commodor Amiga, it was not the first but it was far more advanced than other computers, It had great graphics, great sound, and a very good OS.

    Nothing wrong with the idea, certainly nothing wrong with the execution, but it did not finally make it to the present.

    So it is not about being first, it is all about being 'right'.

    There is no 'best', there is and there is not, we dont use IBM Compat PC's because they are "the best", we use them because the are "right".

    When a business tried to conduct business by providing a product or service their goal is to do the "RIGHT" thing.

    In the TQM field (Total Quality Management) it is terms like this:

    "Doing the right things right first time".

    And what is right for one company or consumer may not be right for another, that is why you can choose between the type of computers you buy, or the software you use, or between different makers and models of cars!

    You dont buy what is best, and companies dont sell what is "best" you buy what is RIGHT and companies produce what is right.

    Most of the time, if not all of the time, what is best is never what is right. It's a bit complicated for you I know.. try to follow.

    If you decided to purchase the BEST car what would you buy ?
    It would probably be a hand made sports car that is the "best" car there is.

    But is that car the "RIGHT" car FOR YOU ?

    What if you want to use your car to drive on rough roads? what if you need a big car to carry yourself and all your family ?

    So people do not seek the Best thing for them, they seek the right thing for themselves.

    Companies understand this and seek to do the right things right first time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Richard (profile), Sep 14th, 2011 @ 5:09am

      Re: this argument makes little or no sense.

      The title of your comment summarises it perfectly!

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      HothMonster, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 7:18am

      Re: this argument makes little or no sense.

      I will never pay attention to you as long as you keep double spacing every sentence.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paragraph

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        darryl, Sep 14th, 2011 @ 11:42am

        Re: Re: this argument makes little or no sense.

        Good for you HothMonster

        I dont want you to read my stuff anyway.

        Is the double spacing not enough ???




        is this better ?

        I never pay attention to trolls who have nothing to contribute to the subject being discussed, but who prefer to troll.
        It is as if they cannot form a decent argument, so they just troll...
        I love you internet search skills though !!!! really impressive

        So what you are telling everyong is that you cannot really understand the article, the point of the article, or what people are saying about the article in the comments section.

        So you just have to be bitter and comment on how someone types their message....
        That is going to get you a long way in life ! Good luck with that! you really do need it.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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