Sunday, April 07, 2013

Positive externalities

Steven Pinker (How the Mind Works) makes the case that we have "combinatorial, adapted" minds.  New things are new combinations of old things (Paul Romer); new ideas are new combinations of previously existing ideas.

The latter probably involve new networks formed in our brains and/or among the brains of people in our network.  Most people get this and understand that networking is profitable in many ways.

How to be creative and how to be succesful (and more) depend on our networking successes.  We know that we network in a variety of ways.  "The social network" is now associated with the thing we do on the internet, but has always been around.

What is new is how we manage and juggle the many networking opportunities in our lives.  This includes what we do at the office, on the internet, as well as our various travels within and between neighborhoods and cities (and continents).

Some of this came to mind as I was reading "Engineering Serendipity ... How to boost creativity on the job? Put bigger tables in the cafeteria," in this morning's NY Times

But as firm managers study these problems, each of us considers the challenge of managing our own personal networks.  We study the networks available to us here, there and there and there, etc. We may even change residences as we seek improved networking options.

Being Free to Choose is a wonderful thing, but rejected by many who worry about "negative externalities."  But the network externalities that I am talking about here are very big and very positive.