Imagine if I went to my economics teacher in 1987 and explained any one of these seemingly crazy ideas to them:
- I’m going to ask a ton of brilliant authors and historians to donate their time, write factual articles, check each other’s work, and not pay them a penny. Afterwards, I’ll offer their work for free.
- I’m going to have a horde of programmers develop all sorts of programs to make people’s lives easier. Their work will be gratis, and the users don’t have to pay.
- I’m going to move to Memphis, Tennessee, buy 14 airplanes, and compete with the postal service and charge less to deliver faster.
The teacher would ask me when I hit my head and how hard.
If you haven’t already put it together, the aforementioned ideas lead to Wikipedia, Google, and FedEx. They say hindsight is 20/20, so it’s easy to look back and marvel at the successes of innovative pioneers, but do you think these ideas were so critically acclaimed when pitched at their humble beginnings?