Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Innovators #1

I have been reading The Innovators, a book written by Walter Isaacson. It is about the digital revolution, i.e. computers. Isaacson emphasizes that many innovations in the digital revolution were the result of collaborative efforts.

"This is the story of these pioneers, hackers, inventors and entrepreneurs -- who they were, how their minds worked, and what made them so creative. It's also a narrative of how they collaborated and why their ability to work together made them even more creative.
     The tale of their teamwork is important because we don't often focus on how central that skill is to innovation. There are thousands of books celebrating people we biographers portray, or mythologize, as lone inventors. ... But we have far fewer tales of collaborative creativity, which is actually more important in understanding how today's technology revolution was fashioned" (p. 1).

The names of some of the most famous collaborators are common knowledge, e.g. Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.  But there are several other collaborators, less commonly known, who also did a lot to make the digital revolution.  John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley at Bell Labs were awarded a Nobel Prize for inventing the transistor. The graphical user interface and mouse that Steve Jobs first exploited for Apple computers were invented by teams elsewhere. Robert Noyce and Jack Kilby invented the the first integrated circuit or microchip that helped launch the personal computer revolution. Noyce and Gordon Moore founded Intel, which mass-produced and improved the microchips that fueled the personal computer revolution. These collaborators plus more not mentioned here provide the content and evidence for Isaacson's story. He also gives examples of inventors who did great things, but with little collaboration, and that inhibited the wide-spread adoption of their ideas and the success of their ideas in the marketplace.

No comments:

Post a Comment