“Makers”, by Cory Doctorow

I’d enjoyed BoingBoing for some time before an unforturnate misunderstanding happened there, so I’d been holding off on consuming any of Cory’s fiction for a while.

The reviews I’ve read of “Makers” finally wore me down (that and a link to the free e-book posted at another of my favorite blogs).  So I’m like, okay I’ll give it a try (picture the old “Life” cereal ad: “I’m not gonna try it, you try it!”).

So, I’m like 30 pages in and I’m identifying with several characters, chiefly Suzanne Church, the 40-something “embedded journalist” covering the rise of a disruptive technology wave.  Being barely 40-something myself, with a brief stint at journalism.. and I work with young engineers that sometimes want to hear tales of the “olden times”.  I live this character’s viewpoint frequently.

On page 29, Tjan, a new business manager that’s just joined “Team Perry&Lester” sez:

“The system makes it hard to sell anything above the marginal cost of goods, unless you have a really innovative idea, which can’t stay innovative for long, so you need continuous invention and reinvention too”.

That is something like I was told by the Big Boss at the first electronics company I ever worked for when I was asking about patenting a really neat hack to get around a discontinued chip used on the TVRO systems we made (it was a brilliant hack, replacing a legacy PLL chip with some MECL logic and some discretes: there, I geeked out).  Boss Ed wisely said something to the effect of “don’t screw with patents unless there’s at least 12 million bucks on the table”… and truer words were never spoken.

Patents are worth exactly what you can spend enforcing them; better to invest the effort in keeping your product continually cooler than anyone that wants to rip off your previous work.

So, I’m liking the book so far, and will update as I read along.


One Response to ““Makers”, by Cory Doctorow”

  1. Troy Coon Says:

    I too have been reading some Cory Doctrow. Many of his books are available from http://www.feedbooks.com/

    Nice blog by the way, I found it by googling you after seeing your name on the Make Magazine Platial Map.

    If you ever get that FoxBlocker ready I know many people who would buy one.

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