So I should flagellate myself repeatedly for not updating my blog in a while. Things have been heating up here with getting acclimated to a new city. Chicago is SO much larger than Kansas City.. There is so much to do, its overwhelming. I had to buy a new computer and since I bought a MACBOOK PRO (YEAH THATS RIGHT I MADE THE SWITCH), I’m still getting used to it. So far, I’m very happy with it. (Since I’m a OneNote addict, I run Parallels Desktop for the Mac, with the Optional Parallels tools installed).
I also bought a bike. Not a motorbike. A bicycle! Yes, a used one off craigslist. I’m going to be carbon neutral (sort of).. at least while I’m in school. Using the subway and the bicycle exclusively. Anyone want to buy my car off me?? I must admit riding the subway is a little annoying at first… especially because the Blue Line has delays due to construction and when the train comes it is like a clown car and you have to contort yourself to fit in there. AND when its humid you are bathed in sweat by the time you get downtown. The awesome thing about the subway is that I can be focused on my audiobooks without having to swerve in and out of traffic; and its an absolutely delightful playground for ethno observation.
I’m going to have to get a little better with my time management skills here, or give up working on a few things just because they’re interesting. I have class every day but Thursday… and I strongly suspect that I’m going to be in the studio a LOT on Thursdays working on product design homework due on Friday.
Anyway, stay tuned. I will post terse notes and thoughts on End of Poverty by Sachs, and I might share some of the research that I’m going to be undertaking in my Intro to Design class… So essentially I’m going to be a stalker and "spy" on people with a camera to learn about their problems and opportunities to improve their lives. I love the design profession…
Lately, I have been bumping into a lot of people who I talk to about my interests in poverty eradication, BOP, and design. We get engaged into a deeper discussion, and then I sometimes hear this bizarre argument surfacing a lot…. from educated people whom I perceive to be sharp (probably what scares me the most)… that somehow, economics and capitalism is a zero-sum game. So, their argument goes, that "there always has to be rich people and poor people". That’s the way things work. People have to exploit and people have to be exploited.
Whereas in the past I’ve had to use examples of the creation of wealth out of "nothing"..AKA entrepreneurship through bootstrapping to counter this "capitalism as zero-sum" argument, I think the best refutations come in simple stories like this one and this one..
Intelligence and capability are not enough. There must be the joy of doing something beautiful. – Dr. G. Venkataswamy
This past weekend, we lost a great man. In this entry, I’d like to pay homage to Dr. G Venkataswamy who has been nothing short of extraordinary. Dr Venkataswamy started the Aravind Eye Care System in India– he had a vision for giving "vision" to 2.4 million poor Indians. In W2/W3, the lack of a core sense such as vision means the lack of means to live and contribute to society.
By pioneering the "McSurgery model" in healthcare in a developing market, Aravind sought to be a sustainable, financially viable model in delivery of health care to the Bottom of the Pyramid.
The world needs more practical social entrepreneurs and DOers like Dr. Venkataswamy. I hope he found joy in his heart– because what he has accomplished is beautiful and inspiring.
I am in Boston now, visiting Nabeel, who is a 2L summer for Foley Hoag. Since he lives in Cambridge, MA, its really easy to walk around everywhere or take the T. It would be super easy to get around here with a bike. Let’s hope that Chicago is as bike friendly as Boston is! I walked around HBS and Kennedy yesterday, and I walked around MIT’s campus today. I met a kind woman who works for One Laptop Per Child here in Cambridge.
So, I feel guilty for not posting about the WFS conference though its been so long. I have really been swamped getting back into the swing of things, wrapping stuff up at work, and moving out of my place in Kansas City. I’m living with a generous friend down in Westport until the middle of August when I’m off to Chicago. I promise, a better debrief and my updated recommended book list for this year, just as soon as I can pull it out of my notebook and digitize it. Tomorrow, I’m going to Martha’s Vineyard, so I won’t have much time to post this weekend. But I will when I get back to Kansas City.
IANAL, nor have I had any business law classes yet, but this issue irks me, so I had to write about it. If you have more training in this field, please step up and educate me.
So there’s this group, Ocean Tomo, that hails itself as a patent consulting firm.. Other people call it a “patent troll”. Nathan Myrhvold’s (of MSoft fame) group in the Valley is putting together a dream team of scientists and lawyers to pump out patents in his group called Intellectual Ventures. These groups hope that, in creating a portfolio of patents, in a few years they will be able to capitalize by collecting royalties, and selling patents to firms that have already developed technology without prior patent knowledge.
This is certain to put the brakes on many startups and small businesses bringing their technologies to market. Technologies that can improve the way humans live on earth (e.g. Better health care). Wantonly creating and issuing patents for all forms of emerging technology and their applications, then, without intent to employ it in some market-reachable vehicle, should be restricted.
In my book, attorneys who are aiding and abetting these activities aren’t too far from ambulance chasers and tort lawyers. There, I said it
Ancillary to my qualms with this issue, the US Patent Office needs a real overhaul and seemingly needs to stop issuing idiotic patents. Its not their fault, they’re swamped, but this presents a huge problem to the future of business innovation. If the USPTO is seen as the de facto standard for IP rights, there really has to be a better way to screen potential patents. Or is there something I’m missing?