Is IP Good?

I think Kathy Sierra is great. Her last two posts are related to memes that I have been tinking about for some time, I just haven’t been thinking about them out loud on my blog. First, the relationship between good ideas and execution (leading to my theme for this post), and second recognizing the value single contributors bring to organizations. So with a little coaxing from Kathy…

In the years ahead when someone is finally able to do the Big Analysis, it will be determined that the principle of intellectual property (IP) has done more to retard innovation than to advance it. The incumbent thinking is that unless I can protect my ideas and be allowed to monitize them, I have no incentive to spend time coming up with new ideas. That is a load of C**p. People will always spend time coming up with new ideas because:

  • it’s fun
  • I need it for myself

I think open sourcing of ideas has the potential to generate far more innovation than the predominate walled-garden approach. Walled gardens seem to be effective in making a few people very rich and creating large plodding organizations.

Money should come from exectuion not ideas. By locking up the rights to IP, producers become lazy and complacent, creating their own little monopoly and don’t have to worry what users think. Think about how good customer service would be if everyone had the freedom to build their business on any idea available, and had to compete primarily on execution.

I think that, among other things, one outcome would be fewer large companies with nicknames like "the evil empire". Instead we would have cooperative networks of smaller organizations opperating on more of a community model. I just like fantasizing about it.

Just imagine if Linus Torvalds had gotten the contract from IBM instead of BG…

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