Don't worry about people stealing an idea. If it's original, you will have to ram it down their throats."
- Howard H. Aiken, as quoted in Portraits in Silicon (1987) by Robert Slater
Some of my own recent thoughts on the issue of ideas:
Radically new ideas are perhaps the most difficult things to sell. One of the main reasons for this can be that when one just goes along with the old ideas one needs not know precisely what they are and what they really mean. To accept a radically new idea one needs know the field in question well. Many people just may have a nagging fear that they do not know enough to step out of the crowd.
On the other hand, we tend to think that other people know more than we. Most people also tend to hide their lack of knowledge as well as they can. That can create a situation where most people think that others know more than they. Consequently, by just going in with the crowd people can best hide away their perceived lack of knowledge that can, in fact, be quite illusory.
However, one of the most personally liberating things a person can say is: "I do not know". Only after this moment occurs one is able to say this one can really learn from others. It is very, very difficult.
However, personally I well remember the feeling of liberation which I did feel after I realized that a person cannot know everything. After that, I could concentrate just on the things that felt important to me personally. Before that, I had just accumulated knowledge. However, now I could put it also into better use as a base for ideas of my own.
There perhaps are no shortcuts for reaching this point. It can be that this stage can be reached just by living a life that shows you the limits but also the strong points in your knowledge.
(This piece was refurbished on 30th of December, 2012)
"Howard Hathaway Aiken (March 8, 1900 – March 14, 1973) was a pioneer in computing, being the original conceptual designer behind IBM's Harvard Mark I computer."