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Slashdotter on the value of ideas versus execution (slashdot.org)
100 points by alex_c on Jan 7, 2009 | hide | past | web | favorite | 70 comments

I dunno, everyone. I buy that he had the first audio hardware for PCs and got killed by Creative. But:

* Anycast dates back to 1993, a year before he claims to have "invented" Hopscotch and Digital Island, both of which failed, and neither of which were as technically sophisticated as FastForward or even Akamai.

* Webcams: at least 1995.

* Enumera looks nothing like a "blade server", and it was P4-based, so I'm not seeing how he invented the Cell Processor.

* His "ECIP" protocol is not the first use of FEC codes on the Internet; you could have gotten Reed-Solomon out of the comp.compression FAQ before then. And I feel like maybe Raj Jain "invented" selective acknowledgement. Also: why do you even use SACK in an FEC protocol?

* You can find HTTP cache servers on Google Groups from 1995, a year before he claims to have invented them, and you can find discussions of them dating back to '93.

* "Streaming MP3" wasn't so much invented (streaming video and audio dates back further than the mbone and Internet Talk Radio in 1992) as it was popularized by Shoutcast. The fact that you once hooked an MP3 up to a socket does not make you the inventor of podcasting.

You all think his problem is he needed a Steve Jobs (funny, I think that's Steve Ballmer's problem right now too). Can I gingerly suggest that his problem is that he's a crackpot?

> You can find HTTP cache servers on Google Groups from 1995, a year before he claims to have invented them, and you can find discussions of them dating back to '93.

The CERN httpd did caching in 1993 or maybe even before. And the Harvest Cache (now called Squid) was started at least by 1994.

> [...] As a result, FTP and HTTP servers find themselves swamped with requests for the same popular files, like the demand for images of the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet which saturated NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory's wide-area network links in July 1994. As a result, there has been an attempt to retrofit caches for internet information system servers like the popular CERN proxy-http cache. One recently developed cache which deserves further examination is the Harvest cache, which boasts improved performance of an order of magnitude over the CERN cache and even over popular http daemons like Netscape's Netsite and NCSA's 1.4 httpd.

Perhaps not gingerly, but thoroughly and convincingly? yes.

Thanks. I love me some tech history, especially in rebuffing egotistical claims.

I think that he missed one big problem he had... timing. All of the ideas that he listed, based upon the dates he gives, were well ahead of their time. Meaning, while they were technically possible, there was no market for them, or the scale wasn't there.

For example, he lists a CCTV DVR in 1997. There simply wasn't a market for DVRs in 1997. DVDs were just coming out then, and most people had VCRs. If you wanted to break into the video recording market, you had to unseat the VCR. Good luck with that. Then on top of that, hard drives cost many times more than they do now ($/GB), so in order to have any sort of usable hard drive space, you would effectively price yourself out of the consumer market. Now, fast forward a couple of years, and you suddenly have a lot of people without VCRs who would like to record shows and lower hard drive costs. The market was primed for a TiVo to show up (actually, I'd argue that TiVo was still a little early and just barely survived, but that's my unfounded opinion).

Of course, the other major problem that he alludes to was that a lot of his technology was designed for the adult industry, which may be somewhat difficult to put on a resume or get investors to take seriously.

Also, wearable computers with VR goggles in 1984? I find that hard to believe, unless it was so primitive as to be almost useless. I suppose you could have used a TRS-80 with a B&W LCD display, but the resolution would have been really poor, and functionality limited. I'm not saying he didn't do it (who knows?) but it's hard to believe he had a practical product.

I tried VR goggles in a driving simulation at a show in SF around that time. They were indeed as bad as you might imagine. The resolution was so low that I could barely make out the scene.

Patent filings require a proper grasp of language. He's apparently self-filed quite a few. Surely he should be able to understand basic English?

he mentioned this in a later reply. he's aware of it and always has other people heavily review and revise everything official. not that i actually looked at the patent apps, so i could be off.

You're not a Tron fan?

More of a Bladerunner kind of guy ;)

"The American dream is that if the average American invents something novel and worthy of patenting, he'll find someone to license it. However for most contemporary inventors, it hasn't worked out that way. The independent inventor today had an extremely difficult time convincing corporations."

Not timing per se but maybe not the stomach and/or resources for litigation.

For example, Jerome Lemelson, who was arguably the most successful American inventor (in terms of money received, not brilliance - some of his 600 patents are questionable) in decades, was a patent-holder of many key patents relating to magnetic recording. And stuff like the flexible track used by Mattel's Matchbox cars.

He spent years in court sueing the big players like Sony to pay him licensing fees. He ultimately prevailed in many cases and now his foundation helps support patent rights for inventors and helps bootstrap and reward promising inventors.


"You cannot develop a reputation for somebody who gives up. You have to be known as a fighter for your rights. Otherwise, you'll never license anything...Even Thomas Edison had a tough time supporting and protecting his patents. He spent about $1.4 million [to defend his inventions], and this was around the turn of the century, when beer was a nickel." -J. Lemelson

Plus a lot of the ideas he cites are good examples of applying technology, but there is nothing intellectually stunning about them that makes them hard to think of.

Mostly its carrying voice/video over ip. There isn't much to "invent" here. It happened as soon as the pipes could handle it. A CDN is an obvious concept if you understand how the internet is structured.

    It's always boiled down to one thing, lack marketing 
    budget. Lack of money to manufacture. Lack of the "right 
    connections" to raise money or make large sales because I 
    wasn't part of the good old boys/rich kids club. There is a 
    class system in this country whether you believe it or not.
     ... As soon as Microsoft or Real Video or some other big 
   company with deep pockets took notice, that was the end for
There is plenty of money for all that stuff, they just didn't need him to tell them how to do it.

The fact that two people invented Calculus at the same time (when global population was under a billion and children worked in factories) should clue him in that other people can have the same ideas he can. Calculus is a lot more novel than a CDN.

Anyway, everyone underestimates the importance of timing.

What this guy REALLY REALLY needs is a "Steve Jobs" friend. I think he is technically brilliant, but so was Steve Wozniak, and Apple was really built through the marketing/business/social skills of Steve Jobs.

Ultimately, for a successful technology company you need both kinds of personality. Those who can schmooze AND play hardball and those who can invent brilliant things.

Just my 1.44346 cents (US)

"Technical success needs technical skills; business success needs business skills."

From what I've read, Jobs was the hard-charging, demanding, hard-to-get-along-with type, whereas Wozniak was a mellow, easy-going, just-let-me-solder-in-peace type.

But imagine if Wozniak had also been a hard-charging alpha dog type. We might not have an Apple, because Jobs and Wozniak would have broken up as a technology 'couple' early on in their work.

Maybe something like this contributed to the original poster's failure to hit a home run in his decades of work.

This jibes with something it's taken me a long time to learn: sometimes, "going along to get along" really is the optimal path.

What you is say is probably true, but I also absolutely agree with the original poster.

Having access to resources, that mostly means funding, is a HUGE deal.

And often that access is a function of seemingly random things like your physical location and who your friends/business associates are.

Umm... How do you think you get funding? This is the primary difference between the technically-minded and the business-minded. The technical think wealth is who you know or what you're born to -- it's firmly outside their domain. The business-savvy create wealth. That's their job.

That's not what I'm saying.

What I am saying is that wealth creation is:

1. Not a technical problem.

2. Highly correlated with who you know.

In no way am I implying that it is entirely outside the realm of anyone who has not been born into wealth.

Right. And this is a false correlation. You might as well say "knowledge of C is highly correlated with who you know." It is undoubtedly true. If you know C, you're likely to know many others who know C. If you don't, you might struggle to name even one other person who does.

But this is obviously not because you need to know the right people to know C. It's because a programmer is born not knowing C and must struggle to learn it. In the course of her struggles, she interacts with, works with, and in other ways self-selects for many people who have shared this same struggle.

Business is the same. Its goal (at least in capitalist society) is to create wealth. No one is born knowing how to make profit. A person must struggle to learn this skill, and in doing so often associates with many others doing the same.

So you have two groups. One whose goal it is to create efficient, innovative, elegant code and another whose goal it is to create wealth. One group tends to end up with awesome software and the other tends to end up with awesome resources. It is perfectly reasonable that it should be so. And yet the developers look at the business people and say "I guess it must be who you know?" Aren't we smarter than that?

Create? How?

You sell part of the ownership in a dream for a few million dollars. You then turn the few million into a few tens of millions.

The exact specifics of the "how" are what everyone is trying to figure out, with varying degrees of success.

Actually, that isn't the wealth creation. It is am important market and business function, but the process of want creation and distribution are actually eliminating market inefficiencies, not increasing wealth. Of course, my argument is based upon the simplistic economic model, and I pay no heed to people that believe want creation yields emotional value through the deliverance of material satisfaction. Now, if you mean to say that business people are responsible for increasing factor income, than yes, exactly.

I somewhat agree, but I'm frustrated that that's required. I get more and more disappointed in where our society is at as a whole as I get older. People shouldn't need a professional brown-noser to flatter them continuously for weeks until they recognize the verity and feasibility of a product and decide to purchase it. It's really sad that that's where we're at, I think, sad that people don't just instantly see through that crap and choose not to waste time on companies that aren't straight shooters.

I think I have good executive and business sense, but I don't play with most of these social "norms" that involve constant BS and ass-kissing so it makes some parts of business hard for me. In fact, I'm in the interview process for a job right now, and I sent the company letters about why they're having trouble securing good candidates, and whether I'll get hired anyway is iffy, but only possible because of the open-mindedness of the owner; if this was corporate drone company, like another company I applied with and had to provide programmer-recruitment advice to, I would just be summarily ignored thereafter. How can people be so vacant, so self-absorbed and oblivious to basic and sensical things, like being a normal human instead of living to suck up after your boss and/or potential buyers? It's really upsetting.

This probably doesn't make much sense. My frustration has been pent-up. I have so much frustration that there's still a lot of it pent now. Thanks for the outlet though dudes, outlet appreciated.

Your sending letters critiquing a company you are trying to get a job from? And more than one?! You will not get that job, no matter how 'open minded' the owner is. Right now the owner is hoping someone else applies, and is mulling over how disruptive you would be to the office.

It's like critiquing someone about their online matchmaking profile on your first date with them. It's our first date, and I'm quite a catch, but you keep talking about how my online profile is flawed? Is that really the most important thing to be discussing right now?

There is a fine line between 'sucking up' and 'being polite'.

The owner doesn't want to hire someone who is going to send him letters every week about how his company isn't doing things right. That's being judgmental and condescending.

If you get hired, bring it up the next time they are looking to hire someone. If you don't get hired, then why do you care?

The letters were unsolicited but not completely irrelevant. I wasn't on the inside and didn't know the inside story, but I'd had a second interview with them and the lead developer discussed their desperate status and how other candidates had accepted other offers and/or decided on different career paths after this company had made offers to them. They made me an offer, actually, and they were definitely playing lowball, which is one of their primary mistakes, in my opinion. They'd stated that they appreciated my honesty and forthrightness in the interview, and given the lead developer's lament over their inability to attract good help, and in light of the offer twenty grand under my range, I thought that I might interject. It was a risky move, but it also presented a good gauge; if the dude can't take politely-worded, pertinent, and helpful advice from the point-of-view of a potential prospect advanced in the interview process, presented in a clean, non-harassing manner, I don't really want to work there.

If the girl in your analogy spent all of the first date talking about how guys just never seem to call her from her online profile, and then we went our separate ways, had a second date where the same laments were filed, went away again, and she made a change to a profile that was stupid, then it would be risky but sensible to politely inform her of some things that she could do to improve the appearance of her profile to prospects. That's what happened here.

Good point.. It's pretty inappropriate to complain to the person you are interviewing.

It sounds like they just can't afford you. When we can't afford someone we often ask them if they would like to work 4 days a week. Sometimes they jump at the chance!

You're not entirely wrong to be frustrated, and I'm under the impression that most people here would agree with you that you shouldn't have to be a emotion-pandering brown-noser to get ahead. The difference I see in the comments to this article, and a number of other comments that touch on this, is how resigned people are to that fate. I am not yet, and it doesn't appear that you are either.

The more resigned someone is, the less reasonable being frustrated about broken philosophy or practice seems to be. The solution then becomes either forcing oneself to become numb, or finding some other outlet for the frustration that doesn't solve the problem. I don't think either of these are particularly effective. They've tended in my experience and those of the people around me to become positive feedback loops; bottling or channeling it just doesn't do enough, it comes back and often with greater intensity. In an odd way, it strikes me as being passive-aggressive with oneself.

Frustration is a sign that something is wrong, and, although it is out of fashion to do so when politically imprudent, I'm an advocate of dealing with the root cause. If something is frustrating you, either change it, or become an advocate for change if it requires more than just your effort. Just advocating for the change can be a frustration reliever; you aren't constantly trying to expend energy forcing yourself to be ok with something anymore.

As for the letter, depending on the response, take it as a sign of whether you'd want to work at that organization. I'm undecided on whether you should've sent it; it depends on your goals. If you were just looking for whatever company would hire you, the letter was a mistake. If you're looking for people who are on the lookout for people with ideas and desire to share them, it might not be such a suicidal move. Just imagining myself as a hiring manager, if you had good points, it certainly wouldn't hurt your chances.

"You're not entirely wrong to be frustrated, and I'm under the impression that most people here would agree with you that you shouldn't have to be a emotion-pandering brown-noser to get ahead."

Very valid point. Once can express one's opinion even if it is against the "consensus reality" of a company as long as it is done in a polite and non demeaning fashion. I am known as a "straight shooter" in the corporation I work for and I often find myself disagreeing with my colleagues, mostly about "soft stuff". I keep my tone polite, explain why I think they are wrong, and express a willingness to be corrected by facts and logic.

This is a learned lesson for me but I find that it serves me a lot better then the days when I used to loudly proclaim my preceived truth. Awareness of politics and playing politics are two different things (and the latter is not necessarily a bad thing). "Brown nosing" is a very small subset of human behaviour in groups or companies. There will always be a small subset of people who practice this, but they are not necessarily more effective than people who don't.

You can get frustrated or you can get better at the skill. Human emotion has played a part in our decision making since the dawn of time and I don't think it's going to go out of fashion any time soon. We are predictably irrational beings and like anything else these social interactions can be figured out if you apply some effort to it.

I suggest taking up a sport. It's a much healthier way to vent frustration, and it has the nice side-effect of making you healthier. Plus, if it's a team sport, it should help you with those 'dealing with crap' skills that are pretty vital... well, everywhere, really.

Even the smartest people in the world can be incredibly self-absorbed, vacant, and non-sensible, because they're people. People are emotional, and irrational, and that likely isn't going to change in the near future.

This is the first guy I've come across since reading P.T. Barnum's The Art of Money Getting (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=310056) who seems to fit the description of the "unlucky man":

  The Rothschilds have another maxim: "Never have anything to
  do with an unlucky man or place." That is to say, never
  have anything to do with a man or place which never
  succeeds, because, although a man may appear to be honest and
  intelligent, yet if he tries this or that thing and always
  fails, it is on account of some fault or infirmity that you
  may not be able to discover but nevertheless which must exist. 
The actual (?) Rothschild quote. More mercenary and off-topic:

  Never have anything to do with an unlucky place, or an
  unlucky man. I have seen many clever men, very clever men,
  who had not shoes to their feet. I never act with them.
  Their advice sounds very well, but they cannot get on
  themselves; and if they cannot do good to themselves, how
  can they do good to me?

I'm reminded of the story that one of our VPs told, of a manager who had received far more applications for a certain job than he had time to look through. So he took half of the resumes that had piled up on his desk and said: "These people are unlucky. We do not want to hire unlucky people." And he threw those resumes in the trash, unread.

IIRC, that was a scene in the British version of The Office.

That story almost certainly comes from an old book, I read it a long time ago.

I think, conversely, this proves its about execution. Assuming that at least some of his claims are a bit exaggerated (with respect to how far along his products were).

Executing an idea "almost" just invites a person with better execution and followthru tho come along and "finish" your product in a way that better suits the markets.

The rest of the article is just an example of learning the lesson about trademarks and patents over and over. If you intend to sell a product, there is a certain amount of homework that you're going to have to do establish yourself. Even if you don't outright trademark (cheap and easy) or patent (more expensive and difficult), at least take some steps to prove that you got there first. This arguably falls into the "execution" category as well.

Its also interesting to me that I've actually heard this story several times before. I think most geeks who travel well have met a "tech Forrest Gump" who's story inserts himself in some way into nearly all of the important technical developments of the last decade, always with an "if only" attached. An amusing listen for an evening at the bar.. but you don't want one for a cube-mate!

We've all been cornered by Mr. (or Mrs) Unfortunate, where they start by saying how they invented blah product years before it's time and then Big Company stole it. I had the great-uncle Jimmy who invented the backlit buttons on a telephone, only to have it 'stolen' by AT&T years later. Ideas are cheap. We all have them.

Looking through his resume it would appear he had a lot of fun, doing what he enjoyed. Yet today all he can muster up is some post blaming everyone else for his apparent failures and disappointments. I would think he's made a good living doing all this impressive work. How lucky is he that he can make a living doing what he, hopefully still, is passionate about?

If he really wants it, he'll find his "Jobs" or "Cuban" to help make it a reality, though chances are they couldn't stand to be around him. Rule number one is don't blame others, no matter how obvious or right you may be. Rule number two is avoid assholes.

My Unkle Jimmy never had another great invention. He was too bitter.

Can anybody confirm any of his claims?

I would think that somebody who came up with that many new products could get something to market.

On the other hand, he could be one of those stereotypical tech geniuses who completely suck at business.


He seems to be in the mad scientist category. Apparently he didn't go to college. It could be that he was so far beyond normal schooling that he decided it wasn't worth the time. But as do many exceptional people, it becomes hard to communicate and appeal to normal folk.

Judging from his home page, he doesn't have any taste. I know that I am preaching to the choir, but success in business is about making something people want.

I think that if he found himself a designer to partner with, he would have been far more successful.

Disclaimer: Yes, I know my own homepage is hideous, so I am a hypocrite. At least my blog has a standard Blogger theme and my resume is attractive (currently Facebook-style because I was considering applying last year).

> Judging from his home page, he doesn't have any taste.

Go and have a look at the website for blue sky mining companies some times. Lack of neato art hardly implies bad fundamentals (in fact many of the mining pages are so bad I half suspect it's a badge of honour).

its hard to know the right answers here. life-ling entrepreneurs have lots of stories to tell.

I do feel that "access to capital" is the thing that makes or breaks most. I think this is a good part of the OP's opinion.

That's right. For me the new idea in this post is that after you realize that "ideas are cheap", you can continue on to see that "execution is cheap". What's not cheap is money, which you use to polish, scale up, and market whatever you're building.

With modern web startups, money probably matters less, and execution, more, than in domains where you manufacture and distribute physical objects.

In about 1990, when I was very young I had a great idea. I had just read a book 'How Things Work', which was a huge hardcover book with great pictures showing how many things work. I came across the generator page and since my father was a mechanic I figured it would be a good idea to put one on the axle of a car. So, I took this idea to my father and we made a quick little proof of concept model, but he explained to me that generators create resistance and it would result in a net energy loss. But, being a bright young kid I figured it could be used just during braking so it would help slow the car down AND produce power!

I never made any money on the idea, and regenerative braking is being used by most hybrids now.

It looks to me like this guy is attempting to create waves, rather than just riding them.

Creating a technology wave, before the world is ready for it, doesn't appear to work.

Remarkably poor writing for someone who has invented a good half of modern technology.

I don't get that criticism at all.

It's a Slashdot comment. He's going to spellcheck it?

Either he did the stuff he says he did, or he didn't. The people reading his post can figure out what he's trying to say.

I think you are reading too much into my comment.

I see that knee-jerk downmodders came out in force today. Welcome (back) to Slashdot! :-)

He disagreed and responded to your comment -- I don't think he's reading too much into it. Your reply is being downvoted because it's an ad hominem and it adds nothing to the discussion.


Adhom is "you're an idiot and therefore your opinion is wrong". What I said is "you are reading into my comment way more than I put into it, you are wrong". Or is pointing out that someone is wrong an automatic adhom now? Seriously?

Your comment does not state that you believe he was wrong. You should be more specific, it doesn't read the way you think it does.

Where do you think it rates on the DH scale?

Uhm. I think it was quite direct - it suggested that he reads into my comment more than I put into it. I guess I could have said "you are wrong I didn't imply any cticism", instead I said "may you be reading too much into my comment?" which I see as less conrontational. I fail to see a crime in this, an it's quite amusing that at least 8 different people piled on to downmod.

I can't see a rational reason for this type of behavior.

And by the way, do you retract your ad-hom accusation or do you stand by it?

I notice you edited your initial response to remove that rather imperious "hm?" from the end of it.

"I think you are reading too much into my comment, hm?"

Ahem. May I ask you if it's possible that you atribute to "hm?" much more negaitve (and different) meaning than I put into it? Hm?

No. The first thing that I noticed about him was that he had bad grammar, even for Slashdot. The poster responded to a questioner and blamed it on learning disabilities.

Chances are, if this guy is unable to present himself in an articulate manner on Slashdot, he can't in front of a VC either.

Yes, this is exactly the sort of thing that can prevent success. As can dressing badly. As can being short and fat. Or ugly, if you're a woman. Fair? No. But intelligence isn't distributed fairly either.

If you want to sell yourself, then you have to fix as many of these problems as you can. There's no way around that. If you can't spell, then use Microsoft Word and its grammar checker on everything you ever write. Go on a diet. Get someone else to pick out your clothes. Etc.

That was quite judgmental. And it might not even be wrong; I am also bothered to all hell by bad grammar as well, and noticed that about his comment. But I'm not ready to presume that he will remain as uncollected and scattered when given the chance to make lengthy preparations for something slightly more important than a Slashdot post.

That you launch into a litany of other things that have nothing to do with this guy's Slashdot comment (clothing, physical fitness, etc) suggest a major chip on your shoulder. You imply that, amongst other things, shortness and physical unattractiveness are problems that need to be fixed; how exactly do you propose people fix these problems? This comment smells of either a self-validating or apologetic cheer toward people who hyper-focus on image at the expense of all other metrics. If you believe what you write here, and aren't just resigned to thinking this is how the rest of the world works, I wonder how many people you've misjudged as a result.

Do you deny that being inarticulate, unkept, short, obese, or unattractive can be barriers to success in business?

If so, elaborate on that. If not, please explain why those same things should not be considered problems that ought to be addressed. Wouldn't it be advisable to treat the issue like any other and apply the full weight of your intelligence and experience to come up with a good solution?

I was concerned I'd need to elaborate on this a bit more.

I don't deny that any of the above traits can be barriers to success. The underlying problem I see requiring attention is different, though, than the problem you and thras suggest we need to solve. When someone encounters barriers due to their appearance and/or image, the best solution I see does not always involve individual behavioral modification. I also go looking for systemic causes. In this case, I think there is a halo effect that is not being addressed and compensated for, or is being assumed as static and unmovable. It results in people being judged on things that do matter to the end product based on things that do not matter. A Porsche is not a faster car than a Honda because the engineers dressed nicer to the factory, nor the opposite; it is tangential. This halo effect is the thing we need to be addressing, rather than attempting to rely on patching ourselves due to errors in the system. I hope my point is a little clearer now.

Chill out man. Perhaps he's not a native English speaker.

That's rather unfair I feel since being good at technical creation doesn't necessarily mean good at communication. How many novelists are going to write you a version of VOIP in 1987?? Come on, there's genuine discussion to be had here but it doesn't revolve around his rather flaky prose style - it's not as though we couldn't UNDERSTAND him!

It's not a problem if he works with someone else who has the social skills and prose style to look good to VCs... The impression you give of yourself when looking for funding is as important as your idea.

Maybe he should open-source some of his ground-breaking inventions, and earn fame (if not money) that way...

Perhaps I'm the only one who thinks so, but running a sustainable business is rarely accomplished by relying upon a popular aphorism that is itself a false dichotomy, which, were it even true, would still not shine very much light on the many complexities of "success."

I find this saying particularly irksome because "execution" is a catch-all term that people use to place blame where it often doesn't belong. (The biotech company Fluidigm had to cancel its IPO recently. Did its executives "fail to execute" a plan to guard against declining economic conditions? Really now.)

There are far better ways to analyze successes and failures in business.

I agree, and I think the author of that comment agrees as well. If anything, he's arguing that even waving a magical "execution" wand around isn't enough for success, let alone just having a valuable idea. I wrote that title because the context of the discussion is a student worried about having his ideas stolen.

It takes two, baby.

His post reads like an advertisement for the E-Myth book ...


his post is reminiscent of captain crunch


As soon as Microsoft or Real Video or some other big company with deep pockets took notice, that was the end for me.

Sad. Copyrights were designed to protect small authors from the massive publishing houses, with whose distribution the small author could never compete. Patents were founded on the same principle. It's pretty upsetting that these are now being used by the large corporations to establish hegemony, whereas the "little guy" almost certainly doesn't have the money necessary to hold his own ground.

I don't think patents should protect people when the solution is obvious. Take a DVR 20,000+ people probably thought up the idea of using HDD to store tv programs it was just a question of when a cheep HDD would become large enough. Push / Pull email to hand held devices is a stupid patent.

What should be protected is novel solutions to problems. Take a product that's in production and make it better by changing it's shape slightly so you get more leverage and that's worthy of a patent.

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