Ecology of Mind

The Evolution Revolution Is Now!

“Are you an Entrepreneur or an Inventor?” Reply to Jeff Stibel

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Preface: Please forgive the legs on, and ultimate jumble of, this… and “Thank you.”

Jeff, I liked your cognitive Artefact so much I had to reply, and at length.

“History is littered with great ideas — they’re irrelevant to entrepreneurs.”


Entrepreneurs live a life of manifesting their own inventions… they simply invent uniquely.

I want to try and stay away from obvious semantic distinctions and dissonances if possible. To invent is to create a new “thing.” Yes? (Even “new” gets me in hot water, I know) We can also assume invention is about more than simply producing a “novel” physical “thing”, that it should include, let’s say, a new facebook app. Yes?  If that, then it is easy to migrate the meaning of invention to Henry Ford’s manifest insights concerning a new way to build vehicles (…invented by another inventor) I’ll term “the conveyed manufacturing line.”  From here we can easily consider the amazing invention of a software program that re-invents itself as it learns, and even evolves and spins off children as new inventions all by its “self.”  Now, who is the inventor? And who owns the IP of the children? And off we go…

Other people’s ideas and manifest “artefacts” (D. Bohm: as inventions can be indeed, “non-relevant”, if not explicated and connected in some way to a synergistically inventive talent(s). Yet, those inventions of the successful entrepreneur via “specified and applied configurations of cognitive and physical energy” make their inventions relevant in that commercial domain we all must agree on here, in this thread, as being “successful”, e.g. relatively consistent increases in share price value.  These unique “configurations of energies” as a totality and over time emerge, manifest in the marketspace, and are valued in “significant” (“signs” vs. “symbols”, K.H. Pribram) monetary terms…  

The entrepreneur (can be) one that literally invents the monetized reality of an invention.

Sponges invent as well, they are what I call synthetic inventors or “synthesizers”… they connect the inventive dots of others in the world around them.  They invent a synthesized correlate pattern that is unique and is an invention. “Originators” can see and then connect non-manifest dots that did not exist in manifest physical reality, in the known physical world (marketspace) around them.  The dots are there in what Bohm coined the implicate domain, they’re just not physically represented yet.  The originator represents the dots and the pattern between them as whole and as invention.

Sure, invention without action is an unmanifest commercial reality. It is part of the implicate order of things. By its very existence it does affect processes related to other invention and the actions of other people BUT is currently impotent in the agreed-as-valued monetized reality. These “invention” insights that have been documented or built to some varying degree can lead indirectly to commercialization, but not through that “form of inventor” and at that moment in, or period of, time.

I’m that aberration. I’m an “inventrepreneur.”

(… and I thought this was a novel insight of mine, the word “inventrepreneur”, until I googled just now and found this is an emergent “person-type” in our global lexicon… it is fresh though, I think the emergent term was born in and around 2007-ish… for my brothers as social evolutionary linguists might appreciate.  It was worth writing this verbose monologue to just have that ah-ha. Thanks.)

Yes, an inventrepreneur, as was my Mother as seamlessly integrated inventor and entrepreneur, and my Father, and my grand fathers on both sides, and their “fathers” – at least 3 gens of outliers. Does DNA have anything to do with it?  But of course, and that is a whole ‘nother article.

Entrepreneur + inventor is a tough combination in the organic sense of a mixed genetic bag of natural gifts and dispositions and then the environmental configurations of energy over time to bring those gifts into the world, and then, with certain constructive synchronicities, luck and timing, the wildly and monetarily successful commercial output of that “self” into the marketplace.

For me it has been a path inclusive of 10 start-ups in 25 years – 2 went OTC public, so not the “real deal”, 2 M&A’d, 3 dissolved, 4 were me working with or under others, 4 as partner with others, and 2 of my own and solo design.

Jeff, I agree, ripping up the plan is oft times a brilliant and necessary move… and should be done when it needs to be done and not a moment later… if possible.

“Business Plans” for me have always been guide-posts… design specs for the evolution of a process with intelligent and best-guess metrics to keep us in line. I say “best guess metrics” because I am the watershed, disruptive, paradigm cracking sort… this is my lonely bailiwick, as it is for others, so the proofing of a business process(s), strategy and objectives, as applied to guiding, defining and measuring the commercial efficacy of a truly unique technology or product, is more of an algorithmic metaphor than a well defined “best practice” mirror – novelty has little history.

So, now we have a spectral “color” range of the inventrepreneur… from “evolutionists” as business folks who build better widgets within an existing widget marketplace and inventively do so for less (or who simply convince the world of such) out to the other end of the spectra and to that abberrative population of disruptive, entrepreneurial game-changers and paradigm crashers or “revolutionists” … very different DNA within a human population envelope bounded by those purely inventive types and purely operations management types. I say spectral as this in NOT a digital illustration of human type but analogue and context dependent.

Jeff, inventors invent businesses and these inventors happen to be entrepreneurs today, yesterday they were called businessmen, and before that mercantilists. The naming of things always reflects the changes and transforms inherent in the process of social evolution.  Just as the entrepreneur will be redefined as we go… as has been done with the term “inventrepreneur.  It may not stick but it is indicative of the emergence of finer grain articulations concerning the nature of our Self and our world of Self’s.

The inventor that successfully generates new businesses happens to have the naturally manifest insights and manifests innately-motivated (DNA-based) action as it applies to commercialization.  It is all causally dependent on the nature and innate “path-of-insights” (J. Brian Hennessy) of that individual(s) – and/or synergistic inventive group therein.  She-He may have his-her own patents or not. He may have patents and the commercial need to add to the IP portfolio through others… or not. Each inventrepreneur is, in affect, YOUnique and evolves finer grain articulations of that YOUnique-ness over time… as you have Jeff.

To evolve with intent is to invent one’s Self.

Different paths are produced by YOUnique beings. Entrepreneurs invent in uniquely resonant spaces… resonant to their unique gifts and dispositions. If you took the inventiveness away for entrepreneurs they would disappear as a human species. Can you imagine an entrepreneur that invents nothing?  Creates nothing?  Nothing that affects a thing, that makes that thing effectively enter the market and make money.  It is all invention of varying type, degree and pervasive affect.

The very smart inventrepreneur – the one that invents the machine and invents the machine that sells the machine – is one who is smart enough (read: aware and conscious of his-her gifts and therefore his-her innate and natural limits) to know who should take his place and when… and know that this replacement may be more than one person, depending to great degree on just how broad their gift-range is.

This would be a “wise-inventrepreneur.”


“We may end up with razors that take two hands to hold, but Gillette proves that innovation is about change and progress, not great ideas.” 

I’ll wager that if Gillette brought to market the innovation of “…razors that take two hands to hold” for 3 years running they would be an M&A target at one third or less of their stock value starting the year they began selling these razors that took two hands to hold. Great product ideas must be part of the re-branding and re-invention and progress and change process.  The re-invention “process” itself, and at Gillette specifically, is someone’s invention at Gillette. It is made of an emergent ah-ha as vision, evolves into a design, it has specs, it involves many, many working pieces, it has tightly bound metric tolerances, and it either works or does not work, right? It is a good invention or a lousy one and needs good products (PD done internally or externally but invention all the same) to succeed… that would be one of the marketing inventors design parameters.


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