Consider Your Influence

Early this month I wrote a short post called Knowledge and Stories. I hit on how people come to have influence – through correct analysis of some pertinent facts. I was reminded of that post as I read a story about Tim O’Reilly in Inc. magazine. The skinny on O’Reilly is that he is able to see beyond the horizon. He has predicted, and profited, from several movements in technology over the course of his career. He credits his foresight on his thirst for knowledge; he wants his work to be interesting.

Today Apple surpassed Microsoft as the most valuable technology company. It’s higher than Google, IBM, and HP as well. This is a direct reflection of another man with influence, Steve Jobs. Apple as a company isn’t more valuable than IBM or HP. Their intellectual property catalogs are just as thorough as Apple’s and their hardware divisions are staples as well. However, Apple as a brand is beyond comparison right now. Their products are eloquent, but I don’t need them. I can’t as confidently say that about Microsoft, IBM, and HP. There is one question I’d ask Apple: Is being on top a blessing or a curse?

While reading the O’Reilly article I was drawn in by a few segments, but one that made me think was a comment he made about how the big ideas really come from hobbyists and not corporations, R&D, or government. For the most part I agree, hobbyists crystalize the ah ha moment, but what influences them? Part of it is curiosity, part of it is proving to oneself you can achieve something, and part of it is the art of it. We as humans have an affinity for art. We all want to write a great song, a moving poem, or coin a new philosophy. But our creative instincts sometimes flow out through crochet socks, a ham radio or a blog about work.

I’m influenced by people like Tim O’Reilly, songs like Little Faith by The National , and a search for wisdom.


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