Thursday, May 29, 2008

Who Says Big Ideas Are Rare?

How useful is it to have a group of really smart people brainstorm for a day? When Myhrvold started out, his expectations were modest. Although he wanted insights like Alexander Graham Bell’s, Bell was clearly one in a million, a genius who went on to have ideas in an extraordinary number of areas—sound recording, flight, lasers, tetrahedral construction, and hydrofoil boats, to name a few. The telephone was his obsession. He approached it from a unique perspective, that of a speech therapist. He had put in years of preparation before that moment by the Grand River, and it was impossible to know what unconscious associations triggered his great insight. Invention has its own algorithm: genius, obsession, serendipity, and epiphany in some unknowable combination. How can you put that in a bottle?

But then, in August of 2003, I.V. held its first invention session, and it was a revelation. “Afterward, Nathan kept saying, ‘There are so many inventions,’ ” Wood recalled. “He thought if we came up with a half-dozen good ideas it would be great, and we came up with somewhere between fifty and a hundred. I said to him, ‘But you had eight people in that room who are seasoned inventors. Weren’t you expecting a multiplier effect?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, but it was more than multiplicity.’ Not even Nathan had any idea of what it was going to be like.”

The original expectation was that I.V. would file a hundred patents a year. Currently, it’s filing five hundred a year. It has a backlog of three thousand ideas...


bernard n. shull said...
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Bud said...

I think you might like my new self-published book. My book, "The Four Filters Invention of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger" examines each of the basic steps they perform in framing and making an investment decision. Here is a 10 min. audio book summary:

Here is the review that George at and did on my book.

As for my own views, “The Four Filters Invention of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger” at is designed to be the next “Intelligent Investor.” It is a small book at 98 pages, and it concentrates mainly on the sequential process outlined by Warren Buffett. How do the best “frame” their investing decisions? The Four Filters cluster around the important business variables of Products, Customer-Sustainablility, Managers, and Price/Value.

The book also strives to prove that Buffett and Munger invented a Behavioral Finance Formula composed of three qualitative steps and one quantitative step, that is underappreciated by the
business and academic communities. In that respect, Buffett and Munger will have a greater long term impact on academics than the Efficient Market Hypothesis.

While my book is concentrated on Munger and Buffett’s approach to framing, this book contains the best of Graham, Carret, Fisher, Buffett and Munger. Read the summary a few times, and you will be motivated and hypnotized into thinking about ways you “frame” your important decisions. This is a subtle peek into sensible and optimal thinking within Behavioral Finance.