The Web is, like, really helpful for innovation.

The world wide web – yes THAT web – is an environment that promotes the creation, diffusion, and adoption of ideas. Amazing, mind-blowing insight, right?!

This first chapter of Where Good Ideas Comes From – Reef, City, Web – is about environments where a lot of stuff happens.

  • Coral Reefs are home to a staggering number of species of animals.
  • Cities create more ideas than smaller towns, following a power law.
  • The web is no different — it’s an environment that accelerates innovation.

To illustrate this, Johnson presents the creation of YouTube as anecdotal evidence.

10/10 versus 1/1.

What does that mean? Johnson suggests that it took about 10 years to build the platform technology of HDTV. This involved a variety of innovations from a variety of sources. I’m not going to get into the weeds on it, but if you can just trust me, that’s what Johnson explains.

Next, he says that it took about 10 years for the market to adopt HDTV. Again, there are pages of justification for this approximation; you can read them if you’re skeptical. That’s where the 10/10 concept comes from: 10 years to create a platform, 10 years for the market to adopt it.

But that was then, and the web is now, and the web is 1/1. YouTube took about 1 year to come into existence (the platform was built in about 1 year) and the market adopted it in about 1 year. 1 and 1. “Bullshit,” you’re thinking, you nerdly web 2.0 expert. Well, don’t kill the messenger – this is Johnson’s conclusion and I’m not trying to dissect it. But regardless of exact specifics here, you have to admit: YouTube was created and adopted much more quickly than HDTV.

That’s the conclusion here and that’s where I’ll leave it. YouTube and other Web “ideas” were created and distributed faster than non-Web ideas. The internet accelerates the creation, diffusion, and adoption of ideas.