Sunday, March 05, 2006

Two anecdotes.

Two anecdotes that I particularly enjoyed from The World is Flat:

TiVo collects information on the viewing habits of its users, and analyzes that information to figure out what its customers do. This infrastructure means that TiVo knows what moment in television was most often rewound and re-viewed: Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction at the 2004 Super Bowl.

Later in the book, Friedman interviews Bill Gates, and they talk about the "ovarian lottery." Friedman writes:

Thirty years ago ... if you had a choice between being born a genius on the outskirts of Bombay or Shanghai or being born an average person in Poughkeepsie, you would take Poughkeepsie, because your chances of thriving and living a decent life there, even with average talent, were much greater. But as the world has gone flat ... natural talent has started to trump geography.

"Now," says Bill Gates, "I would rather be a genius born in China than an average guy born in Poughkeepsie."


Blogger christopher baus said...

I haven't read the book, but that's an interesting thought on birth location.

I don't think we are there yet. Geniuses born in less privileged societies don't have the same opportunities to live up to their potential. If one child is forced to leave school to help support his or her family, is he or she better off?

Plus genius is only part of the equation to success. Hard work, support from society, and luck play large roles as well.

Having grown up in Upstate NY, I'd still choose Poughkeepsie.


12:43 PM  

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