Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Paper Chase - Part Duex

The Paper Chase refers to the transmission and reception of knowledge in a cloud based, platform agnostic environment. But before we talk more about John Houseman, who isn't actually "John Houseman" let's go to the dictionary, shall we?

Definition of TRANSMIT
transitive verb
a : to send or convey from one person or place to another : forward b : to cause or allow to spread: as (1) : to convey by or as if by inheritance or heredity : hand down (2) : to convey (infection) abroad or to another
a)  to cause (as light or force) to pass or be conveyed through space or a medium (2) : to admit the passage of : conduct , glass transmits light, b : to send out (a signal) either by radio waves or over a wire

That's yummy word goodness right there.

John Houseman was born Jacques Haussmann, September 22, 1902. It is difficult to image ourselves in the circumstances of the early 1900’s.   The human experience was dramatically different. Few people traveled more the 25 miles away from the place they were born. Nearly all food was locally produced. Everything was organically grown and the basic rhythm of daily life still rested upon the cycles of the sun; the hours of the day, the seasons of the year. The environment in which humans existed resonated at a different frequency. Take that 3.4 gHz geosynchronis GPS sattelite!

On 12 December 1901, a mere eleven months prior to the birth of Jacques Haussmann, aka John Houseman, a brilliant young Italian man named Guglielmo Marconi claimed to have transmitted a radio signal a distance of about 2,200 miles. Using a very large antenna lifted up by a kite, radio, the wireless telegraph had been born. As the infant Haussmann slept in his crib, a wave of disruption was in its own infancy, rising to unfold across the globe. Alas, if disruption could be so simple.

Disruption is a naturally and regularly arising force. It is a product of system dynamics. It is a result of environment. Disruption never takes place in a vacuum. It is always a synthesis of existing fields of information / energy. Disruption is never directly caused by something new. The genesis of disruption takes place when an existing field of information, endeavor or energy is restructured into a new form through the reorganization of existing connections or content.

Disruption is seeded by diversity.

Prior to Marconi’s claim of invention there were other inventors applying their minds to the same possibility.  In September 1897, five years before Marconi had flown his kite, another man, a Russian, Nikoli Tesla had already filed for and received a patent, for a device that without modification could be used for wireless communication. The technology was already present and almost everyone agrees that Marconi most certainly had known about it. 

In every age, in every technology, disruption is the result of a novel solution to existing barriers. Disruption is almost always created by an individual, who is well versed in the existing field of information and capable of reorganizing the connections within that field into a new set of relationships. That is why I mentioned Shawn Fanning in the previous post. He didn't invent the MP3. He optimized the distribution of it though existing technology. He empowered the distribution of content by making new new contentions within an existing system. Marconi used a kite to get his antenna high enough to transmit in the unobstructed space above the ground. That was a novel solution to the existing barrier of leveraging radio frequencies to over come the limits of the telegraph.


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