Jun 15, 2011

String theory

IBN Live quotes Extreme Tech, a technology website, as saying:
The innovative doodle that Google put up for the country and jazz guitarist, songwriter and inventor Les Paul resulted in $268 million in lost productivity.
The calculations are basically a house of cards made of slabs of back-of-the-envelope calculations built on a foundation of assumptions. Still, even if I ignore the number or method, the exercise annoys me. Consider the positives:
  • Several million+ people, who may not have heard of the pioneer Les Paul, now know who he was.
  • Instead of muddling 5 minutes on Facebook or Powerpoint or thinking about what they'd do after work, they spent time with a new toy, and some of their neurons (especially on the right hand side of the brain) welcomed the change.
  • They marveled at the current state of web technology and some of them resolved that day to learn to build such cool things.
  • By listening to what others had done with the audio-doodle, they figured out that great music can be made even from humble instruments. Some dusted off their old guitars and others made appointments with musically-inclined friends and teachers.
I wouldn't know how to calculate it, but I guess that whatever the loss to numerical productivity and annoyance to neighbours, the contribution to human knowledge and creativity was firmly in the black.

And if you want to pluck a few strings again, here you go.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

So true, JR. Doodles are great examples of creativity of googlers. They also inspire folks to think out of the box :-)