Tag Archive for 'invention'

have we run out of new invention ideas? …not!

Recently I had a con­ver­sa­tion with my uncle. We talked briefly about get­ting a job vs. being an entrepreneur.

My con­clu­sion was that get­ting a job is prob­a­bly suit­able for the “stable” people who won’t want too many fluc­tu­a­tions and just want to get by, while being an entre­pre­neur is not for the faint-​hearted but will def­i­nitely bring greater rewards if you are not too dumb.

His con­clu­sion was that get­ting a job is the way to go for except the really bril­liant people, and his reason was we have run out of ideas in today’s world and it is too dif­fi­cult to com­pete with estab­lished giant com­pa­nies if we don’t invent new ideas.

So really, is that the case?

On the sur­face, his con­clu­sion seemed to have a lot of truth to it. I remem­ber my dad telling me the same thing when I was a child, and I couldn’t come up with a clever new inven­tion idea to chal­lenge his stance. Even today, I can’t come up with some cool ideas on the spot. So it would be normal for most people to reach that we have run out of new ideas to start a new, suc­cess­ful business.

I don’t think so

But then, I really put some think­ing into that, and I could see that there are in fact end­less pos­si­bil­i­ties still wait­ing for us to dis­cover. How did I know? I asked myself this simple ques­tion, “Does every­thing in the world that we live in simply just works?” Obvi­ously, any­body will tell you how some­thing, many things, don’t work quite right in their lives. As opposed to having to come up with con­struc­tive ideas, just blam­ing what’s not work­ing (or put another way, incon­ve­niences of life) is a lot easier. I can come up with a few on the spot here:

  • I still spend a sig­nif­i­cant amount (maybe 5 – 15%) of my life on transportation.
  • I recently permed my hair curly, and I am con­stantly wor­ry­ing that I might do some­thing wrong that will make it straight.
  • If I want to eat some food I enjoy, I’m con­stantly count­ing the calories.
  • Urban coun­tries dump tons of food every day. Third world coun­tries dump tons of corpses every day.
  • I have to man­u­ally clean my ass with toilet paper every time after I defecate.

OK the last one might sound like a cheap joke but it’s a pretty legit­i­mate issue, when we look at the fact that flush toilet is con­sid­ered one of the inven­tions with most impacts by many scientists.

See, there are count­less small things that are still scream­ing for improve­ments in our daily lives. It’s just that we don’t notice them. Many people think that it would take a rocket scen­tist to make some ground break­ing inven­tion, which is totally not true. For exam­ple, I recently came across this bril­liant new device:

Approx­i­mately 3,000 wood­work­ers get their finger cut by a saw like that every year. This new inven­tion, which con­sists of no next-​generation sci­en­tific dis­cov­er­ies, is saving 3,000 woodworkers’ fin­gers every year.

The point I want to illus­trate here, is that there are still end­less pos­si­bil­i­ties here in the world, and we are not des­tined to be stuck in a cubi­cle day in and day out. All it takes is the ambi­tion and the cre­ativ­ity, and we all can do much more mean­ing­ful work than sit­ting in a cubicle.

So until the day when we have all the gad­gets in Dorae­mon, you don’t have to get a job because you can start your own!