RE: META: re: Improving the Extropians list

O'Regan, Emlyn (
Fri, 18 Jun 1999 16:30:18 +1000

> I mailed the wired people about crit mediator when that article came
> out. Who knows if they read my mail. I couldn't for the life of me
> work out what the hype was about, aside from the usual ability of people
> online to assume no one else has thought of their astonishingly
> brilliant idea.
People usually assume that they are the only ones to think of their great ideas. The internet is a real thorn in the ego in this respect, as you are continually being reminded that, no matter the area, someone is way ahead of you.

Hands up who has had the following experience:

Day 1: You think of brilliant new idea that will change the world, make you a fortune, and stamp your mark on history for eternity. You tell all of your friends and anyone else who will listen, and start making plans for your new empire based on said idea. You max out your credit card in anticipation of your newfound wealth.

Day 2: You stumble across a post/webpage/e-mail (unsolicited, and not in response to any query by yourself) explaining how someone else has already thought of your idea (many moons ago), worked it through more thoroughly, prototyped it, and is now just opening shop with a fully developed commercial venture based on realisation of that idea. You shake your fist at the monitor, shred your plans of empire, and regret having maxed out your credit card.

Day 3 +: You have conversations with n-many friends, associates, and all the other people you told about the idea, where they inform you that it has already been done (which you found out on Day 2), and, with forced smile, you thank them for their timely information. No one offers to help pay off your credit card.

Seriously, it is difficult to imagine thinking of a good original idea without specialising to the point of leading the world in a given field (hello to all those list members in this position). But then how do you keep a cross-disiplinary perspective, and get the real lateral ideas?

The Rambler
(really it's Emlyn)