I found a recent Wall Street Journal article very interesting and I want to share it with you. Matt Ridley's article is about the timing of inventions, and Ridley gives the example of the first laptop which was invented in 1982 while computers were still relatively bulky and heavy.
Inventor, Bill Moggridge designed the first laptop by using a hinge to attach a screen to a keyboard. While a brilliant idea, the first laptop was too heavy, too pricey and equipped with just 340 kilobytes of memory.
Ridley's point was that even if Bill Moggridge had not come up with idea of the laptop computer, someone else would have, because that invention was destined to be.
Conversely, Ridley discusses the not so obvious reasons as to why something was not invented that seemed to be an obvious choice for many years. For example, why did it take so long for the can opener to be invented after the tin can was already invented? The answer is that the first canned foods were used mostly by soldiers during wartime, and they usually were already carrying a sharp knife or bayonet, so why invent something else for a soldier to carry.
Ridley concludes, "The more you examine the history of technology, the more evolutionary it looks. Invention is incremental rather than revolutionary, inevitable rather than idiosyncratic, and it emerges unplanned from the cross-fertilization of ideas." Photo Credit: Freephotos