Here is a question: If
If we wouldn’t have got Google, the world would have been a very different place than it currently is. It is something so basic to our lives now that even imagining a world without Google is impossible without Googling. And that is some paradox.
So, would there have been no Google, if Page and Brin, hadn’t met?
While there wouldn’t have been something exactly like Google, the world would have still got a search engine. In fact, by the time Google came around in 1996, the world already had more than a few internet search
As Matt Ridley writes in The Evolution of Everything: How
Having used a few of these search engines in the late 1990s and the early 2000s, I can say with some confidence that none of these search engines were as good as Google was. Nevertheless, there is nothing to say that if Google hadn’t come around, these search engines wouldn’t have become better and would have continued to operate in their old way.
In fact, Google and a whole host of other search engines hitting the world, almost at the same point of time, isn’t an exception. It happens more often than not with many big inventions and discoveries.
As Riddley puts it: “The truth is, almost all discoveries and inventions occur to different people simultaneously.”
Let’s take the example of the light bulk, which was a very important invention, as inventions go. It played a huge role in increasing human productivity and the overall productivity of the global economy.
In India, we grow up learning that
And what is true about search engines and light bulbs, is also true about a whole host of other things. Kevin Kelly in his book What Technology Wants tells us that when it comes to inventions, we know of six different inventors of the humble thermometer. There are three of the hypodermic needle, four of the decimal fraction, four of photograph, five of photography, five of the steamboat, six of the electric railways, and so on.
Why does this happen? It happens simply because any big invention can’t be made in isolation. It is based on past inventions, designs, research and thinking. Or to put it more simplistically, copying makes the world a much better place.
But the system of patents and awards recognises on individual for an invention, leaving behind the others. And that is really not fair. As Ridely writes: “Simultaneous discovery and invention mean that both patents and
To conclude, the two points that we can draw here are: 1) In life, unfairly winner takes it all. 2) Nobody can stop an idea whose time has come.