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What’s a Connection Worth?

Posted on: October 13, 2010

As I write, I am on my way home from my way second favorite city in the U.S., San Francisco, (and tracking my flight on the go-to site for road warriors, flightstats.com)

where some of the Wilson team and I spent a few days at the DMA2010 Conference & Exhibition.

En route to San Francisco, I spent a couple days in desert-spa-and-resort favorite, Tucson. While there, I went for an invigorating run, one afternoon, in the Catalina foothills, and then mapped my route at mapmyride, the site for those of us who seek quantitative affirmation of our physical fitness accomplishments.

The thing I like most about mapmyride is the point-and-click method of route mapping — with a few clicks of your mouse, the software makes the point-to-point connections and fills in the route and the distance  — with a result that is both visual and numerical. Brilliant.

While running, I started thinking about those mapmyride connectors and their analogous equivalents in the human realm — friends, colleagues and acquaintances who put people and ideas together — and how invaluable they are to the flow of ideas and the transaction of commerce.

Steven Johnson, a Brooklynite, and best-selling author of a number of books on the intersection of science, technology and personal experience, released a video a couple weeks ago promoting his latest title Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation (available in retail outlets and via download today).

The premise of his book — and the accompanying video — is that great ideas don’t come from a single person having a Eureka! moment, but instead are the product a multiple minds working together in almost accidental ways due to chance encounters made via networked connections. He cites as examples the English coffee houses of the Enlightenment and the Parisian salons of Modernism, and talks about how the Internet is functioning in the same way today.

I was so taken by this video — not just the content, but also the illustrated form, that I had to share it. For my money, it’s well worth the 4-minute investment.

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  • Chris Cushing: Nice list. Although the most annoying for me is the new corporate catch phrase "bandwidth." Ooh, Makes me shrug everytime I hear it in a meeting.
  • Maile: Sweet write, great site layout, continue the great work
  • Nate: I have DISH Network and a Sling adapter connected to my receiver and I was surprised to see how many devices that this work on with DISH. I know Comca
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