TCLP 2011-04-27 Rant: Innovation Tax

This is a feature cast, an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

The hacker word of the week this week is flash crowd.

The feature this week is a rant on the barriers and friction that make up the innovation tax. The idea was really brought to the fore in my mind by a Harvard Business Review piece by James Allworth. A good example of the thought process of risk averse dominant incumbents was encapsulated in the recent interview with Francis Ford Coppola to which Cory on BoingBoing linked.


View the detailed show notes online. You can grab the flac encoded audio from the Internet Archive.

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2 Replies to “TCLP 2011-04-27 Rant: Innovation Tax”

  1. It was hard for me to listen to this rant and not think that it’s better to give up on the idea of founding a startup based around a particular innovation. Without a significant VC backup to cover the potential legal costs and redevelopment necessary when infringement occurs, it seems better to turn over such creations over to the community. By doing so, it is possible one might raise enough awareness of the innovation to net a corporate sponsorship or, in the least, raise enough market credibility of your own name to ensure a career. This of course does not account for additional factors if one is of a minority demographic — non-white, non-male, non-strait, non-cisgender — that may encourage VCs and corporations alike to pass you over no matter the value of your innovation.

    1. I expect that some of your concerns are folded into the way VCs approach prospects. I am certain some of the patent investigation and defense is just seen as cost of business. Unfortunately, I think that the stickier an odd, the faster the cost scales out of proportion with what startups can usually handle.

      I am of two minds on the notion of giving over ideas to an open, collaborative community. I am largely for it, as a FLOSS enthusiast and advocate and think it still enables considerable downstream opportunities for building business. I do have a concern in the form of the few lawsuits we’ve seen in this space but thankfully they by and large haven’t really come to anything substantial.

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