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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Sunday 2 December 2012

The Best Innovations Start Free


Texting started off free, and turned out to be quite profitable.  But, again, it started off free.  If the strict profit model had been applied here, we'd never have had texting - it needed to exist first for its value to be proven.  Someone had to take the risk by going pro-social with the service, first. The evolution of Facebook has followed a similar pattern - what starts off as fun, innovative and free becomes commercialized over time as the money people start to smell opportunity, then start to fear loss.

When it becomes solely about profit and related status, personal risk ceases to be desirable; consequences get downloaded to those with less to gain and more to lose, reducing the opportunity for innovation.  Instead, sure things are what get bet on.  In changing times, there's little that's 100% certain - even the buckets one tends to think of as immutable, like natural resources, aren't the cornucopia we often take them for.

Innovation is essential for growth, but it's dependent on vision first, capital second.  Something to think about.

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