It is okay if some don’t understand

There is a historic example of how significant innovation in using machines to “augment human intellect” had not been understood.

Douglas Engelbart gave The Mother of All Demos in 1968.  As informally reported, “90 percent of the computer science community thought Engelbart was a crackpot”.  Three or four years later, at a repeat, there was still the appearance “the best and the brightest can’t grok this”.

A contemporary witness commented a video of that demo:

I ran the film in the New Chemistry Theatre for all the staff of the University of London Computer Centre and other interested parties. I watched fascinated. However, after 90 minutes, when it ended and the audience of senior London computing academics filed out, I heard several make comments such as “Interesting, but it will never catch on” and “What a waste of time.” They had just seen the first ever mouse, hypertext, word processing, video conferencing, and the Internet…

We hope this parable can help ease the minds of individuals who struggle to understand our innovations, and help teams to reach consensus on engaging in business with us.

It is okay if some don’t understand.  Only some percent of people understand new technology.  Certain combinations of steps and components escape comprehension more than others.

There are natural reasons why newcomers may need ramp-up time:  For example, foundational R&D we have been doing barely resembles complete product, just like internals of a processor do not resemble the outside of a computer.  By some measures, we innovate a lot.

Fortunately, in their completed forms, our products and services are very much about enabling people.  So was Engelbart’s.

Did you ever compare your personal strength with a bulldozer, or a draft horse?  The tractor and the animal come out ahead of you.  You could not even lift a bulldozer or a horse.  Both work for you though.

Our stealth startup is about enabling people to understand systems:

  • The complex systems they defend (cybersecurity),
  • systems that run lives (IoT, economy),
  • systems they build (technology),
  • systems they study and work with (life sciences, ecosystems).

This is a big list for a startup.  Not to worry:  Currently we are more focused than that.

✉ To find out about how we can help your organization, contact us.

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