Sunday, March 1, 2009

Know yourself, and know your enemy

The New York Times Magazine has an excellent piece this weekend. I only decided to link to it when I got to this point:

“Most Republicans are not entrepreneurial[.] They’re corporatists. They like the security and the comfort of a well-thought-out, highly boring boardroom meeting in which they do a PowerPoint once. And it worries them to have ideas, because ideas have edges, and they’re not totally formed, and you’ve got to prove them, and they sound strange because they’re new, and if it’s new how do you know it’s any good, because, after all, it’s new and you’ve never heard it before.”

The gentleman who is speaking is referred to consistently as an "idea factory" or similar. I've known a few of those over the years; they tend to do exceedingly well in academia. Outside of academia, though, they tend to rise or fall not on their own merits, but according to the ability of others to focus and harness them. The idea that the engine keeps running even when the wheels fall off captures the phenomenon well - as well as the difficulty in reattaching wheels.

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