All of benlandautaylor's Comments + Replies

Why is there no equivalent of the VC industry, but for patentable inventions instead of startups?

VC works because making a startup can be extremely profitable. Making patents used to be quite profitable, but is that still the case? I can't recall seeing someone make lots of money from their patent in recent years. (The exception is the pharmaceutical industry, where patents seem to de facto work differently than the rest of the economy. This industry does have financial mechanisms for incubating patentable innovations, which is fortunate because developing the patented products is ridiculously expensive.) When I hear about patents being used these day... (read more)

1ericgilliam2yIt's probably worth noting that this could also just be because this pipeline doesn't seem to exist. Like I know Peter Thiel comments that today a letter from Einstein would get lost in the mailroom of the white house. Today, I could probably email HP the specs and proof of concept of a brand new kind of printer that printed an order of magnitude cheaper, was way easier to connect to, etc. And there's little chance they'd see it or respond. I think discounting the possibility that this just doesn't happen often because corporate bureaucracies aren't set up to handle it probably shouldn't be taken off the table. And if the argument is more along the lines of "why have we not heard of a single person because surely it would have happened once?" The answer could likely be that once in a blue moon someone like IBM or NASA does take an idea from an absolute rando who they don't hire to implement it, but then they NDA that rando and we don't hear about him.
New Industries Come From Crazy People

There are of course tons and tons of R&D labs working on things with medium-term commercial applications, and the question is why so few of them get results as good as Edison's. More recent examples of hyperproductive labs like Xerox PARC, DARPA, and early Google suggest that this is still entirely possible, but it also seems difficult, fragile, and unlikely to maintain extreme productivity once the founder's attention is elsewhere. I haven't looked into these labs very deeply, but my understanding is that they all depended on a very specific culture w... (read more)