Web 2.0 Expo: O'Reilly Says Have Fun, Invent - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Infrastructure // PC & Servers

Web 2.0 Expo: O'Reilly Says Have Fun, Invent

Tech prognosticator believes researchers need to get less granular and focus on projects that will inspire them to create the next big thing.

Internet pundit Tim O'Reilly said inventors, including computer scientists, must think big and revel in their endeavors if they're to achieve major breakthroughs in the future.

Speaking at the Web 2.0 Expo in New York City, co-sponsored by O'Reilly Media and UBM TechWeb, O'Reilly Insisted that invention competitions like those sponsored by The National Academy of Sciences center on research that's too granular to motivate big ideas, O'Reilly said researchers should inspire themselves by focusing on projects that are fun and exciting.

"Let's upload the human brain into a computer," said O'Reilly, citing a projection by tech visionary Ray Kurzweil that posits such a feat may be possible within the next couple of decades.

O'Reilly also cited the so-called Makers Movement, where individuals and loosely assembled teams get together on an ad hoc basis to jury-rig new products from found items. "We're starting to rethink the nature of consumption," said O'Reilly. "We're not consuming stuff as much as we're consuming ideas," he said.

O'Reilly said current research is hamstrung by the fact that it's insular and scientists are often thinking ahead to commercialization rather than the project at hand. He held up the Wright brothers as an example of how things can be different. "They weren't trying to create an airline, they just thought it would be really cool to fly," said O'Reiilly.

But O'Reilly said "fun" is just the first of what he defined as the four cylinders to innovation. The second cylinder requires inventors to think big, and imagine the possibilities for the creations. The third cylinder embraces productization. "Find a business model, and build a great company," said O'Reilly, noting that the principals behind high fliers like Google and Microsoft did just that.

The fourth cylinder, said O'Reilly, is all about sharing innovation. He said some of the most successful IT companies aren't so much about products as they are platforms that help others build value. Henry Ford, he said, "invented the weekend" by making cars and, as importantly, introducing the five-day workweek so his employees would have time to drive them.

A current day example would be Google, with programs like AdWords and AdSense. "How much money has Google allowed other people to make?" he said. At the end of the day, O'Reilly, citing a quote by computer scientist pioneer Alan Kay, said, "It's easier to invent the future than predict it." It's also, apparently, more fun.

SEE ALSO:

Web 2.0 Expo: Flash, HTML 5 Converging

Web 2.0 Expo: Katie Couric Blends Old And New Media

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Slideshows
What Digital Transformation Is (And Isn't)
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  12/4/2019
Commentary
Watch Out for New Barriers to Faster Software Development
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  12/3/2019
Commentary
If DevOps Is So Awesome, Why Is Your Initiative Failing?
Guest Commentary, Guest Commentary,  12/2/2019
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
The Cloud Gets Ready for the 20's
This IT Trend Report explores how cloud computing is being shaped for the next phase in its maturation. It will help enterprise IT decision makers and business leaders understand some of the key trends reflected emerging cloud concepts and technologies, and in enterprise cloud usage patterns. Get it today!
Slideshows
Flash Poll